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If you follow me on Twitter or are a regular reader here on the ol’ blog, you already know that we’ve had all sorts of problems with the townhouse we are currently renting. So far, I’ve written primarily about our issues with how poorly this place was built and is being maintained thanks to cheap management.
I haven’t really written much about our neighbourhood or the fact that we see the police here on a pretty regular basis…
For example, in the 8 months we’ve lived here:
– We watched the police enter a unit down the street from us one afternoon and come out with one of our neighbours in cuffs.
– We were woken up in the middle of night mid-week to a drunk woman screaming and banging on the door and windows of another unit – and watched as three different police cruiser showed up and eventually sent the woman off in a cab.
– We regularly check crimereports.com and see “assault” and “theft under $5000” appearing on our block.
– In mid-September, we woke up to the news that there was an incident involving someone in a townhouse a few blocks down from us, alcohol, gunfire in the middle of the night, and additional weapons charges. Yay!
… Because thankfully, these incidents had nothing to do with us. But as you may have already guessed, that recently changed.
Our townhouse is situated on the corner of a crescent, and our unit is on the outer edge. Both our living room and bedroom are at the front of the house. Regardless of if our windows are open or not, sound travels like crazy. It’s not unusual for us to hear one neighbour or another yelling (at each other, at their kids, or at their dogs). It always sounds like it’s coming from right outside our door, even if it’s actually coming from half a block away.
Because we are essentially in the corner, our view consists of the street with several other townhouses – and a few more if we look to the right (see photo below). Between this view and the way the sound carries, we often have no choice but to know our neighbours business.
The Domestic Dispute
Recently, we were at home making dinner (by that I of course mean R was making dinner and I was playing on my laptop) when we heard a Girl in her late teens/early 20s yelling. I looked out the window to see that this Girl was yelling at a Boy about the same age.
At first it seemed like the Boy had kicked a ball from the Girl’s front yard as he was walking by and the Girl was freaking out at him over it. But as the fight continued, we learned that they were actually a couple and she was kicking him out.
R and I both sort of laughed at the situation (remember, this sort of thing happens a lot) and after a little while, we somewhat-maybe-not-so-subtly went outside to watch – as did several other neighbours.
I guess the couple didn’t like the attention, because the Boy went around to the back of the buildings (where there is a public walking trail – which is sort of beside our place) in attempt to leave, but the Girl just kept going at him.
This is when things started to get violent.
The Girl started pushing him, shoving him and kicking at him as he tried to walk away. After a few more minutes of this, the Boy swung the skateboard he had at her to try to get her to back off (but didn’t hit her.) Clearly, this was no longer just an argument.
We decided to call 911.
As R was on the phone with the operator, I guess the couple had clued into the fact that we were watching them and were calling the police, because they both disappeared down the trail. She was still yelling, and still attacking him.
We went back inside to wait for the police to show up. But the police didn’t come.
After about 20 minutes had passed, we saw the Girl had returned – but she was alone. R called 911 again to update them on what was happening (which he was asked to do). We were still expecting the police to at least follow-up with the call, but no, the police still didn’t come.
Domestic violence is so common in our community that the police launched a special Domestic Violence Unit last year to address the issue. So where were they? This Girl was pissed off at this Boy and was getting increasingly violent with him. Even though this ended without any incident (that we know of), it could have easily escalated into something serious. Why weren’t they addressing this?
It’s still ridiculously upsetting and unsettling that our local police completely dismissed our call and dismissed our concerns. When you call the police for any reason, you except them to respond. Apparently, this isn’t always true.
How am I supposed to feel safe, now?
Have you ever had to call the Police on a neighbour? Did they respond to your call?
How safe do you feel in your home and/or neighbourhood?
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