My neighbors had a fight and I called 911 — was that the right move?

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Kairu asks:

HotlineI had an unpleasant situation this weekend.

My apartment neighbors (a couple in their 20s) had a fight, complete with thuds, pained screams, and the woman screaming, “Let go of me! Stop!”

I called 911 since it seemed to be more than a lovers’ quarrel. But since telling friends, some say I overstepped my boundaries and should have minded my own business.

I feel if I’d done nothing and the fight escalated to a crime scene I could never live with myself.

What would you do in this situation? How do you know when to intervene?

Comments on My neighbors had a fight and I called 911 — was that the right move?

  1. It makes me sad reading this story and these comments. I have recently been involved in a fight with a boyfriend where I was held down and choked. This is the second time that it has escalated to the level of choking. The first time I screamed for help and the person in the apartment above called 911. Sigh, it was really horrible. Awful to think that it is actually my life that I’m talking about. I thought I was going to die. I covered for him that time and said that we had only been verbally fighting. I have been terrified of police involvement and external involvement because well it can be scary not having control over your life but clearly I haven’t had enough control over my own life. This last time I called the police after the incident. It was very very difficult to do and I only did so after significant prodding by two sisters. Sigh, it’s a very miserable situation to be in. I have never been in a violent relationship before this. I just became isolated very quickly by this guy and was in a new place far away from friends and family.

  2. Coming from a women who was abused by her husband, I think you did the right thing! I wish one of my neighbors would have called the cops when they heard my screams! If they had maybe it would have not taken two years of abuse for me to come to my senses an leave him!

  3. I wish someone had done that for me. I lived with a violent abuser for one year where he would physically abuse me every 2-3 weeks. We lived in an apartment and nobody ever called the police. I couldn’t call them for obvious fear or repercussions but it’s still painful to think that my cries and screams sometimes throughout the whole night went ignored. It’s like nobody cared and what he was doing to me was ok. And another thing to consider… when I left the relationship and he continued stalking me, but not abusing me because I wouldn’t give him the opportunity, I couldn’t get a restraining order. It would have helped if something was on file. I wish more scared women had neighbors like you!

  4. I know this is an old old post but I just wanted to throw in my two cents (which may be worth about five cents since I’ve had experience here)

    I was babysitting once, and after coming home, the parents stayed out on the porch a while. I didn’t mind, since the kid was asleep. Talking escalated to yelling. A lot. Then after a while of “No/get off of me/let go”‘s I called 911. Apparently another neighbor was out there trying to pull him off her as well (he couldn’t call since he was mid-drama). Apparently he had been having control issues (read: fighting) in the relationship for a while, and police involvement was the breaking point. They got a divorce after that night, and years later she still thanks me.

    You did the right thing.

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