To call or not to call

Didn’t want to get too serious about this but wanted to discuss a situation!
It’s 3:30 in the afternoon, clear weather, neighborhood somewhat quite. On a normal day you can hear a pin drop. However, this afternoon as I retrieved my mail from the mailbox that is located across the street, I hear screaming, I pause for a second or two to get a grip on what I think I’m hearing. Hearing not so good, but the guttural sounds from a female are quite distinctive. Could not make out words, but the sounds were more terrifying than yelling at someone not to touch the cookies. These were screams. I slowly walk back to my front door and pause again hearing the screams and noticed an unfamiliar vehicle with hazard lights flashing, parked in front of the home I hear the screams coming from. No markings on vehicle, no delivery boy at their front door. I enter my home thinking if someone is being hurt, how bad will I feel if the body is removed later in the evening. So I step out my front door a screened in door and listen as close as I can, the screaming is a bit louder and pure fear. I hesitate a little longer, then ask my wife for the phone, I still wait to call. Am I just being a nosy neighbor or derelict during a domestic abuse situation or worse a home invasion, hence the vehicle waiting outside?
After more screaming I call the non emergency local police and explain in detail what I am hearing as the operator and I are on the phone. Told operator I wish to remain anonymous! Cops arrived 2 minutes after the call. A middle aged heavy set gentleman appeared out of the vehicle as the cops pulled in front of him, they spoke for sometime some sort of paperwork was exchanged, the officer left him standing against his car as he approached the house where I heard the screaming, he checked left, right, windows then knocked on door, which appeared to go unanswered. So back to the gentleman at the vehicle, some phone calls by both parties the officer and the gentleman were made, more paperwork changed hands, no one got animated, gentleman was encouraged to leave and did so, then officer left. Did I make the right call or should I have minded my own business?


I think you did the right thing.


Thank you, beginning to have second thoughts, however if it was my wife, I hope someone would call!


I think you did the right thing. I’d rather be a little wrong, than a whole lot right in that situation.


I think you did the right thing. Once I heard how you described those screams, that was my line.


I know you did the right thing, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Absolutely did the right thing.

To address your concerns with being a nosey neighbor. My rule of thumb is if I can hear it at the street its no longer a private conversation or affair.


Screams are supposed to get noticed, you did the right thing.


At least it’s good to hear about a decent response time by LE. Sometimes we don’t give credit. Absolutely made the right call.


I would’ve done exactly the same thing.

Local PD actually encourage it.

Crimes are prevented by reporting “suspicious” activities, persons, or vehicles.


You absolutely did the right thing.


You did the right thing mister. If you hear a woman screaming your first instinct is to want to help. I would have probably walked in the direction of the screams just to get a better look at the situation. That is after I made the call to 911.


I think you did the right thing, not sure if the cops did. Sounds like something was going on for sure. I would be extra aware for the next couple weeks.


No doubt, I am on higher alert, monitoring and threat assessing the area constantly, it’s not paranoia when the world is burning to the ground! Thank you, on guard 24/7. As far as I know, no one is aware that I made the call except for the 911 operator!


I’d have dialed the emergency number. The officers that responded in your story did not locate the source of the sounds you described, so in theory, there could a body in that house.

Your description sounded like someone was gutting a woman with a dull fork! Check until the source of that gutteral sound is found, the officers didn’t speak to you, the complainant? They didn’t do enough. The large guy they interviewed, sounds like he was the one with the dull fork, did he look like he’s been in a knock down, drag out fight? Sounds like he should have been detained longer. Looking for the sound source would be high on my priorities before I let Mr. Fork go.

I’m a retired police officer. Me, I would have been a lot more agressive than the police that responded…


Yeah! I agree, the dull fork guy was sitting in the blacked out vehicle and was possible getaway driver. When officer checked house no one answered! I remained anonymous throughout! But felt it was right to call! Strangely, a few blocks from me a body was found in a house under unknown circumstances as reported on my local news 30 minutes after my encounter. There is no possible way I heard screaming from that far away. Warranty is up on the ears!
I am extremely private in all my affairs, have been living here for 32 years, neighbors come and go, quicker than the seasons. So I don’t get to “know” my neighbors, just a wave of hi, how you doin’, no sugar, cookies or tea. Just, I know you exist. Keeping any eye on things, but I don’t think anyone knows I made the call.
Thank you fo the synopsis. If I was younger, I would have taken my invincible self over the the source to investigate further. I’m no longer invincible. Ooohhhh to be 20 again! Like a rock, now more like jelly bean!


I would have expected them to enter for a welfare check. If someone was hostage or being hurt, maybe they were being prevented from answering the door. I don’t know the legalities, but it seems something more would have been appropriate. My curiosity hopes you’ll update if anything new developes as in “the rest of the story”.


Yes you did the right thing. When I was in college I was heading into my apartment and could clearly hear a woman screaming at her child and the child crying. I called the cops, they handled it, I was never called as a witness in court so I don’t know what happened. I hoped it worked out ok…mom got help, the child was ok. This was around spring of '95 in Tennessee.


I believe calling was the right thing to do. Better to call and find out nothing was going on rather than not calling and have a tragedy happen. Police do welfare checks all the time, sure it has saved many lives.


I was also hoping for some type of resolution, maybe even a call back from 911 operator but I think that’s expecting too much in this era. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s story may have been different. But so far only seen one occupant enter home. For now I’ll just keep eyes and what’s left of the ears open.