Police -would you call them if you saw this.. - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Call the cops
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#1 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 02:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Last night there was a dark car parked outside my home at 3am (could have arrived before then but that's what time I woke up and saw it). It was parked in an odd way so that it was facing mine and my neighbours homes and there were 2 men sat in the front of it watching my side of the street. 

 

At first I thought maybe it was a secret affair type of thing possibly, but there was no physical contact at all. I saw them talk a few times, but mostly they were sat still watching the homes facing them. 

 

Then I wondered if they were undercover police officers doing a stake out? The driver had some papers out for a while, looking through them and placing them on the car dash. 

 

After 30 minutes the driver got out the car and walked accross the street to my side and stood infront of one of the homes...I couldn't see exactly what he did because I didn't want to look too closely by the window incase they saw me. He was gone for a couple of minutes then got back in the car. 

 

I watched for another 30 minutes until 4am then went to bed. The car was gone when I woke up at 7am.

 

Maybe they were just waiting for someone to get home? But 3-4am is a strange time to be visiting someone.

 

So would you have called the cops and reported it as suspicious activity? On the non-emergency number not 911? I ask because I wasn't sure if I should or not, so I didn't. But if it happens again tonight, maybe I should? 

 

I did write down the license plate number.


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#2 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 04:42 AM
 
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Eh, I don't think I would call for that. I agree that it's odd, but I would probably only call if I got a bad vibe. From what you wrote, I got the impression that it was strange and interesting but not necessarily creepy, intimidating, or unsettling. I guess follow your gut! You could always err on the side of caution and call it in, too.

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#3 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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I probably would have kept an eye on it and not called (I'll tend to convince myself of all kinds of legitimate things that might be going on - electric or city people who have to check out neighborhood stuff, something related to a foreclosed home, public works dept, etc) dh might actually call the non-emergency number for something like that now that I think about it.  He works nights so he'd be up at times like that, and is less nervous about calling people about things overall than I am.

 

 

 

Similar-ish story: We did call once, for what simply ended up being someone parked in front of our neighbor's driveway across the street.  But that's because it was precluded by wild driving and almost car chase between these two cars, with constant honking we heard coming closer from several blocks away, and then arguing and yelling when these people got out of their cars and we thought there was going to be some kind of fight right there in front of our house, or one of them would hit the other person with a car, who knows.  It was pretty crazy (and like 11:30 pm and we were about to go to sleep).  They both drove off in one car, leaving the other in front of our neighbor's drive, he came home about 15 minutes later around the same time the cops showed up, and then sorta yelled around outside about the car blocking his drive until they towed this other car.    

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#4 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 07:10 AM
 
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I would have called if it's unusual.  But my old neighborhood had a drug house so I called constantly.

 

Once I called and reported two men sitting across the street from my house in a car (small street so they were pratically in my front yard).  After a few minutes on hold the dispatcher came back and told me they were undercover policemen.  They came over and introduced themselves later that day and thanked me for calling and insured that they would wave from now on so that they didn't freak me out.:)

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#5 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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I would have called (the non emergency number). The police would have sent a cruiser over to ask them what they were doing, no big deal. We do get cars stopping in front of our house all the time. It's a good spot to pull over, make phone calls, eat fast food picked up in a drive through, have a nap... People are always stopping and I don't worry about it. But if they are sitting there staring at my neighbor's house, I would certainly call.


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#6 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 10:08 AM
 
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I would have called (the non emergency number). The police would have sent a cruiser over to ask them what they were doing, no big deal. We do get cars stopping in front of our house all the time. It's a good spot to pull over, make phone calls, eat fast food picked up in a drive through, have a nap... People are always stopping and I don't worry about it. But if they are sitting there staring at my neighbor's house, I would certainly call.

In my area the non-emergency line is not available at 3am so I would have absolutely called 911 to report what the OP saw. My reaction may be baseness on the fact that I live in a quiet neighborhood and my house is situated at the back of the community where people would have rock reason to just be sitting in a car at 3am. Better safe than sorry, especially if it made you uncomfortable enough to watch for so long & I have found that the officers responding usually agree that calling was the right thing to do.
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#7 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 10:13 AM
 
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I'd call. I don't need the worry about what they may or may not have been up to.
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#8 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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I'd call. My area has overall low crime, but lots of car theft. I'm quite sure at that time of night there are police just driving around in the area. The could swing by and check it out.

 

I don't  know that I would call if I lived in an area where I thought it might pull police from something more urgent.
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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I voted yes. Although, I don't know if I would personally call or not -- that situation is iffy and it would just depend on the vibe I got from it. But I voted yes because I don't think there's anything wrong with calling. I've called 911 on some borderline situations a couple of times, and I'm always apologetic and feel like I'm bothering them, but they always assure me that that's what they're there for, and thank me for calling. 


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#10 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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No.  Being parked on the side of the road - and getting out - even at 3:00 a.m. is not cop-worthy behaviour.  


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#11 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 05:48 PM
 
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I would call. They could be undercover cops or people casing a house. The nonemergency number is for these types of small worries.
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#12 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 06:21 PM
 
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If you feel uncomfortable, then call a non-emergency line.  Otherwise, I feel it could be anything.  I've been a parked car in random places just to talk.  I've also seen obvious governmental people (undercover police/FBI/others) who have been scoping out suspected situations (which I feel are totally Leggett).  I've also seen mob type characters scoping out places on totally strange situations, so there are many, many reasons why you may have seen a parked car outside your house.  Do what you feel is comfortable for your family.  My position is that it is better safe than sorry.  That's just me.  No harm in contacted officials even if it is the officials are involved.


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#13 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 06:29 PM
 
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No.  Pulling over on the side of the road - and getting out - even at 3:00 a.m. is not cop-worthy behaviour.  

Except this is not what happened. The car remained parked in a residential neighborhood for a minimum of an hour. Calling 911 does not guarantee that an officer will respond immediately, they will certainly weigh the nature of the situation and respond accordingly.

Better safe than sorry - let the police determine if the situation is harmless or not.
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#14 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 06:45 PM
 
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Except this is not what happened. The car remained parked in a residential neighborhood for a minimum of an hour. Calling 911 does not guarantee that an officer will respond immediately, they will certainly weigh the nature of the situation and respond accordingly.
Better safe than sorry - let the police determine if the situation is harmless or not.

Agree.  OP knows her neighborhood and knows what is unusual and usual.  In my neighborhood, this is usual (I  live in an urban environment where this type of activity is common and it either involves under-cover cops or mob type characters).  Often I overlook it because my safety depends on it.  But, if it would be an unusual situation for my neighborhood then I would definitely take steps to report.  It is a factual and personal thing.


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#15 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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Except this is not what happened. The car remained parked in a residential neighborhood for a minimum of an hour. Calling 911 does not guarantee that an officer will respond immediately, they will certainly weigh the nature of the situation and respond accordingly.
Better safe than sorry - let the police determine if the situation is harmless or not.

I read the OP. I changed the wording in my previous post from pulled over to parked to be clearer.  She  asked if posters would call and I would not. shrug.gif  To each their own.   


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#16 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 08:36 PM
 
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One time while I while living in town in a mid sized city, I was wide awake in the middle of night and just staring out my apartment window as I watched a couple of young men walking around. At the time, I had a job where I got home at 2AM and needed a while to calm down to get to sleep. Because I this, I did a lot of things in the middle of the night -- even my grocery shopping. So I didn't think much of other people being out and about long past what many people would consider normal. So I was staring out my window watching the men walk around a parking lot I could see, and they were looking into car windows. I watched them for quite awhile before it occurred to me how odd their behavior was. I finally called 911, officers where in the lot in less than 10 minutes, by which time the men were in the middle of breaking into a car.   If I hadn't called when I did, they would have gotten away.

 

So when in doubt, I call.

 

It ain't normal for someone it sit and stare at houses. You've no idea if they are good guys or bad guys.

 

In a recent Red Cross class I took, they repeated that if you aren't sure whether or not you should call 911, then you should call. If there is ANY doubt in your mind, call.
 


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#17 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 09:22 PM
 
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would not call.

 

esp. these days when the budget has been cut so short.

 

who knows. bill collectors? or car repossesion research? or feds. .

 

our police is VERY underfunded. not sure calling and describing what i saw would led to anything. 

 

however i like that you wrote the license plate down. i'd keep my eyes open. 


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#18 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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Bill collectors don't work in the middle of the night. I'd call. Chances are it was the police who were waiting for someone they were told about in the house they were watching. But maybe not.
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#19 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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who knows. bill collectors? or car repossesion research? or feds.

While I cannot imagine a bill collector lurking outside someone's house at 3am, anyone who has a legal right to be there, which could in some circumstances be the individuals you mentioned, will be able to show proper identification to police if questioned.

We had a strange car in our neighborhood a few months back, after a break in at our neighbor's house. When we spoke with the police after they arrived they told us to never hesitate to call if we are not positive about a situation - better they make an unwarranted drive by visit then have something happen because no one wanted to other the police.
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#20 of 24 Old 10-05-2012, 10:20 PM
 
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While I cannot imagine a bill collector lurking outside someone's house at 3am, anyone who has a legal right to be there, which could in some circumstances be the individuals you mentioned, will be able to show proper identification to police if questioned.
We had a strange car in our neighborhood a few months back, after a break in at our neighbor's house. When we spoke with the police after they arrived they told us to never hesitate to call if we are not positive about a situation - better they make an unwarranted drive by visit then have something happen because no one wanted to other the police.

exactly. 

this is exactly what the police would say. THEY will check it out according to their own triage of what's going on at the time you call. they will not divert attention away from a robbery in progress or  a traffic pile up, but if they are just doing rounds, of course they will send someone over.

the police -- however underfunded -- RELY upon the public to be the eyes and ears of their own neighborhood. they truly want and need good people like you to keep an eye on things going on, and absolutely they want you to report ANY suspicious activity you see, especially around your own neighborhood... where only you (and your neighbors) know what's "normal" and "typical" -- and what is not.

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#21 of 24 Old 10-06-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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I wouldn't have reported it. It wouldn't even have occurred to me that it might be something report-worthy. I've been in similar situations (as the people in the car, I mean) several times in my life, and it was never anything nefarious). Reading the OP, I thought, "yeah - I guess that could be something", but that was hearing it from the perspective of someone who was already curious/suspicious. It wouldn't have raised any flags for me, personally.


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#22 of 24 Old 10-07-2012, 01:04 PM
 
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id probably send DH out to see what the heck he was doing. 


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#23 of 24 Old 10-07-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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id probably send DH out to see what the heck he was doing. 

OMGoodness, I would have called the police a thousand times over before doing this.  But that's just me, I'm a huge scaredy cat some times.

 

I would probably call the non-emergency number if something was making me wonder.  There's a reason you're wondering, after all.  Society does not support us paying attention to our intuition.

 

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#24 of 24 Old 10-08-2012, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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id probably send DH out to see what the heck he was doing. 

No way! They could have guns or anything.

 

Thanks for all the replies, it's good to get other's thoughts on such things. I probably should have just gone ahead and called the police non-emergency number, I doubt they would have been overly busy at 3am. It did seem very unusual to me, but I could also see how it could seem like normal behaviour to someone else, that's why I wasn't sure what to do, and I didn't see them do anything bad, just seemed very suspicious to me. 

 

I haven't seen the car back lately, however if I see it again I will call thumb.gif


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