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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

OTHER: Neighbor Has Me Worried for My Family's Safety
Letter #: 394359
Category: Other

Original Letter

I've got a neighbour who has in the last year increasingly taken crack Cocain, at an alarming rate. I want to contact the local authorities and report is substance abuse, but my wife says we should leave him alone. Just in last week he's had other substance abusers and prostitutes over, shouting and fighting with each other. 

My concerns are, 1, what happens if my wife is in the hall way going out and is confronted by these people, she's small and vulnerable. 2, The type of person going over there have criminal backgrounds, and the safety of my flat and possession are at risk of being stolen. 3, would my flat be broken into and my possessions stolen. 4, the atmosphere he has created in our neighbourhood when people say that this is a crack building. 

Please give me advice, I want to call the police and report it, but my wife doesn't want me to. Thanks folks.

Elder Response

I don't think you are being a "bad neighbor" to be concerned about the safety of your wife and the security of your property, Anglo! I do think we need to understand what your wife's objection is to you contacting the police. Is she afraid of retribution from the crack head? That would be all the more reason to end this intimidation and do it sooner rather than later. If her concern is "being a bad neighbor", I think she is not defining neighborliness in a reasonable way. I can see though, that she might not want you to be labeling the neighbor as a "substance abuser". She may have a literal point there in that absent seeing what you know to be crack or crack paraphernalia, you don't know for sure what he's taking or how much. Even then, would you really know how much and if he is "abusing". That's tough to prove from where you sit. 

So, what should you do and how? This is what I would do. Go to the police department. Don't just call. Before you do this, it would be really helpful to them for you to document the dates and times that you observe:

  • suspicious looking people in the hallways around your place and obviously going and coming from your neighbor's place
  • loud noise indicating fighting
  • any evidence of crack cocaine or other drugs

If you collect this information (write it down!) for at least a couple of weeks, you'll be really helping the police and adding substance to your complaint. I think what you need to focus on is the behavior you have experienced. Also tell the police the concerns you listed in your request for advice. You stated them clearly there. Your focus is on concern for your wife's safety, the security of your property, and the criminal atmosphere being created in your building. You are NOT calling the neighbor a substance abuser; instead you are describing his behavior and how it is affecting you and your wife, and letting the police draw their own conclusions about whether the guy is a substance abuser. 

You might also want to report the neighbor's behavior to your building manager. Do that discretely, perhaps by writing him a note explaining that you are nervous about having the neighbor know that you are blowing the whistle on him. I can't imagine that a responsible building manager would tolerate the kind of behavior you describe you neighbor doing.

You deserve to live in a place where you can have peace of mind. If the police and/or the building manager are not able to get your neighbor to mend his ways, I think you will have no choice but to look for another place to live. I know this doesn't seem fair, but a lot of things in life are like that. We have to prioritize what's important to us and be willing let go of things that keep us from those things. Safety and security are so basic, that I think they would qualify as objectives worth moving for if all else fails. I hope this doesn't end up being necessary.

Good luck!

Best Regards,

SuzannaRoseanna


    

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