Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

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Kendra
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Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#1

Post by Kendra »

OK, I'd like some advice, especially since I've seen at least one law enforcement officer posting here. I have a couple that lives in the condo beneath me, and I'm 99.9999% there's a domestic violence issue going on. I'd like some advice how to deal with it, if someone could tell me where I might start the thread without starting it in the wrong place...

Edit. I know questions and suggestions is not the place for the thread, but I'll let the mods move it if they choose.

Situation, about two years ago a young couple moved into the condo below me. With much too much frequency, something or someone was frequestly hitting a wall. It took a while trying to suss out the bumps against the wall - didn't happen when she was home alone/didn't happen when he was home alone. Finally one argument exploded at 3AM and spilled outside and it was pretty clear what was being tossed against the wall. For a while it quieted down (I think she had a baby), but a couple of weeks ago it ramped up big time with huge bashes against the wall and I could hear her screaming at him to get out and she'd be getting a restraining order (police were called). Didn't happen, he was back in good graces the same day and now a couple of weeks later they're arguing ('someone' keeps turning on the bath faucet to drown it out) and things are hitting the wall again.

I know the first rule is to call 911 everytime this stuff happens, but then again I have what is potentially a violent neighbor who might not be happy with visits from LEO after 911 calls from me. Thoughts and input appreciated.

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POTENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NEIGHBORS BELOW

#2

Post by kate520 »

This is a good place but I'd change the title on your first post to directly address what you need to know. Click the edit button and change the title in the box. Like, domestic violence - intervene or not? But you choose.
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esseff44
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POTENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NEIGHBORS BELOW

#3

Post by esseff44 »

You could change the topic title to something like: I need advice on how to deal with suspected domestic violence

That should get you some responses but you will most likely need to give more facts such as how well you know them and is the suspected victim someone you can talk to. How well are the police trained in your jurisdiction? Are there women's shelters in your area? (assuming the victim is a woman). Do they have guns? ETc.

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Kendra
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POTENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NEIGHBORS BELOW

#4

Post by Kendra »

Thanks for the responses. I just didn't want to start the thread in questions and suggestions and get my hands slapped.

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Kendra
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POTENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NEIGHBORS BELOW

#5

Post by Kendra »

kate520 wrote:This is a good place but I'd change the title on your first post to directly address what you need to know. Click the edit button and change the title in the box. Like, domestic violence - intervene or not? But you choose.
Done (I think).

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#6

Post by kate520 »

Yes, you did, but let me fiddle it a bit...

Ok.
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#7

Post by kate520 »

Do you know her? Is there a way you can suruptitiously ask if she needs help? I know new babies can be overwhelming, etc., is there anything I can do? is a good intro. No mom needs an excuse or invitation to talk about kids and all new moms need help. It doesn't sound like she has family visit, so she may be eager. You may not get through to her the first time, but if she comes to trust you maybe.

If you confirm your suspicions, there's less risk in reporting it.

I don't know, though. She took him back at least once before. :?
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Kendra
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#8

Post by Kendra »

kate520 wrote:Do you know her? Is there a way you can suruptitiously ask if she needs help? I know new babies can be overwhelming, etc., is there anything I can do? is a good intro. No mom needs an excuse or invitation to talk about kids and all new moms need help. It doesn't sound like she has family visit, so she may be eager. You may not get through to her the first time, but if she comes to trust you maybe.

If you confirm your suspicions, there's less risk in reporting it.

I don't know, though. She took him back at least once before. :?
No, there is no contact/relationship. It's the kind of neighborhood where neighborly friendships don't happen, we just don't cross paths when I am coming and going from work and/or errands

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esseff44
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#9

Post by esseff44 »

Is there anyway you can invite her up for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie?

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#10

Post by Kendra »

esseff44 wrote:Is there anyway you can invite her up for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie?
No.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#11

Post by TexasFilly »

Are there any women's shelters in your town? Or any domestic violence agencies? They might have better advice than we do.
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#12

Post by RoadScholar »

These things are tangled and ticklish culturally. Before we married, my wife & I lived in a row house next to a hillbilly family. That's descriptive, not pejorative. Friendly enough folks. Father had moved to the city for work in the sixties, daughter had three kids from different fathers but was trying to stick with the latest guy. We heard loud arguments and stuff breaking on occasion although I never saw her with injuries.

One day she came over while I was out and asked Kathleen "Are you and Tom doing alright?" She said "Sure, why?"

Her response: "Cause I never hear you fighting." It was part of the definition of love in her world.

I'm afraid in this situation you have darn few ways to make it better and a gaggle of ways to make it worse. And hesitation is not unwarranted; fighting couples have been known to both turn on Good Samaritans and harm them.

(There's a scene like that in The Cinderella Man.)
The bitterest truth is healthier than the sweetest lie.
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#13

Post by Dan1100 »

The following is merely my opinion.

Call the cops the next time it happens.

There is no reason for him to ever know it was you that called. If you want, get a burner phone or one of those throw away internet phone numbers.
"Hello, this is 911, what is your emergency?

"I think there is a women being beaten right now at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Apt 102. I need to remain anonymous. Could you please send an officer to do a welfare check?
Then hang up.

This is contrary to the other advice you are going to get, but don't get personally involved. It will only lead to heart ache. Call the professionals and let them handle it.

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esseff44
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#14

Post by esseff44 »

Are there other neighbors that hear or notice the same thing? Here the police are very sensitive about telling them who reported what especially if you tell them you are afraid of retaliation. (Often they do not know which neighbor called or if it is called in anonymously. But, yes, you should make sure that is the case. If there is a child involved, it's a whole different problem. There's always CPS, but sometimes they can make a situation worse for the wife too if she doesn't have protection from him. If it follows the usual pattern, she gets blamed for everything.

It's very tricky. In most places, there's some kind of women's non-profit with counselors where you could go and ask for advice without giving your/their address. They are well aware of the dangers for all involved.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#15

Post by Kendra »

Are there other neighbors that hear or notice the same thing?
That's the big problem right there. The way the condo building is set up, the only neighbor who could conceivably hear their arguments is me, being directly above. The city police are very professional, but it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who was calling 911 and that puts a target on my back from a male that obviously can't control his temper. A few weeks ago their argument spilled outside in a big way (I had called 911, but I think she had as well), after I heard her screaming at him to GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT, and that she was filing a restraining order the next day. Then she lets him back in.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#16

Post by Sugar Magnolia »

Calling the cops anonymously every time you hear crying or screaming is a good start. You can't really call them for "thumping around" downstairs because that isn't a crime, and if it takes them a while to get there and nothing is going on, it might take even longer to get there next time. Calling when there is an objective reason to and knowing there is a person physically involved might at least get the cops there to see the tears or red eyes or whatever and the calls will go in the address history. Unfortunately, without her cooperation or visible evidence of abuse, there's not much more the cops can do.

We had a similar situation in an apartment years ago and my solution was to pick a time she was alone and walk upstairs with a plate of brownies. Introduced myself to her, made cooing baby noises and asked her politely if they could hold the noise down. "I know you probably don't realize it, but the sound of your dancing or playing or thumping around comes through loud and clear in my apartment." I was as friendly and apologetic as possible and let her know I was open to communication with her without being the raging bitch from downstairs. I also threw in a "I know you have a new baby and that can be hard so let me know if there's anything I can help you with."

The fights didn't stop, but they did become less frequent and quieter. She never asked for help directly either, but she did smile and nod when we passed in the parking lot.

Is there on-site management you could address the issue with?

p.s. I'm not trying to minimize any potential danger to you, but he's more likely to take it out on her whether you call anonymously or not. I cannot remember a single time when an officer told someone in that situation who it was that called in the complaint. As a matter of fact, it was against department policy to do so. The dispatcher cannot make you give a name, nor can they refuse to send someone if you decline to. You call, they respond, is how it works. "Concerned citizen" complaints are much more common than "see the complainant, Ms Jones" calls are by at least 2:1.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#17

Post by Chilidog »

I lived in an apartment once where I would often hear wall thumps from my upstairs neighbors

...I don't think they were fighting, though.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#18

Post by TollandRCR »

It is far too common for the victim (usually a female) to "take the abuser back." When interviewed, the victims say things like ("I love him," "the kids need him," or "we depend on him for support"). All of this is lost if the abuser is taken to jail, convicted, and sent to prison. There is the hope that he won't do it again. Counseling of the abuser seems not to be very effective, particularly if substance abuse is concomitant with the abuse.

That does not mean that you should not call the police. A person may be a great risk of injury or death. There is often some escalation in degree of violence over the months. You should also identify women's or family shelters in the area.

Domestic violence is far more common that we may recognize. Back in the 1990s the Police Foundation referred to it as an "epidemic." It is sometimes never reported to the police, although it is more common for police to accumulate a record from an address.

Sociological experiments decades ago showed that domestic violence was reduced if the abuser was taken to jail, convicted, and served prison time. However, this applied most strongly when the abuser had a job, had other aspects of stability in the community, and was in a long-term relationship (such as marriage) with the victim. In other cases, domestic abuse is about as recidivist a crime as is child sexual abuse. A shelter for women or families may be able to persuade the victim to end the relationship, but that is usually hard to achieve.

When I teach college students about domestic abuse, I have always given what is today called a "trigger warning." "The likelihood is that in a class of this size, some of you have experienced domestic violence. What you may never have known is that the person sitting beside you also experienced that. It was never your fault, even if somebody blamed you. If you were the victim of sexual abuse, know that you are not alone. If you are a boy who experienced that, know that about 1 in every 6 boys will experience some form of unwanted sexual contact before reaching adulthood. It's not your fault."

Graham Spanier, former super-president of PSU, should have been giving such a warning to his students. And acting when an instance was brought to his attention. That was why I so resented what he did not do and the light reprimand that he received.
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#19

Post by esseff44 »

I can understand what a quandary you are in. If you do something, you run the risk of making the situation worse and dangerous for her and yourself. If you don't, you would feel guilty if something really bad happened to her or the baby. From what I have seen personally and read about, domestic abuse doesn't get better but progresses. The abuser feels he has a right to take it out on his 'property' without outside interference. I have never heard one admit any awareness that what they were doing was wrong. If there's a child involved, they can be used against the mother. The father will constantly threaten to harm the child or have the child taken away if the mother does not submit. I have known many cases where the woman's family was no help and they blamed the woman for not being a 'good enough wife' or that she made her bed, so lie in it. So many go from abuse at home to 'a savior' who is just as bad or worse.

What about being prepared to record the noises and keep a diary of what you observe and hear? It's always better to have that than not for your own memory and for objective evidence. It might make you feel less helpless, too. Have information about women's shelters ready. All the police officers hear have cards ready to hand to anyone who asks. Here, domestic violence is the #1 reason for calls and takes up the biggest part of police time.

And keep reaching out for your own sanity. It's your home and your peace of mind that has become involved. I hope you will let us know how you are coping and what you find out.
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#20

Post by Kendra »

Is there on-site management you could address the issue with?
Nope, off site management company and typically per the rules unless a board member observes a violation (noise) two homeowners need to witness/complain about it.

Thanks to everyone for excellent advice and a place to sound off about it. I don't want to be chicken little and calling the police at every bump against the wall, but there have been two times now that things really escalated. The last time, when the police were called (by me and I think she called them as well), my window was open and I was able to hear most of the song and dance the young lad gave to the police officers. Oh we never touched each other. Bah, I know what I heard. Typically during the end of a 911 call in my city, the dispatcher asks if I want to talk to the officer, and next time I'll say yes.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#21

Post by esseff44 »

That's why I suggested keeping a recording device at hand. You know what you heard and can replay it if needed.

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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#22

Post by Xtreme1 »

I have a LOT of empathy for your situation. This is a situation that could have a hundred different outcomes,which is the norm whenever you are dealing with human beings and the VERY fluid nature of domestic violence.
I personally believe that these types of calls are the scariest, most explosive and unpredictable out of all the others.
I've been assaulted several times by the VICTIM, as have a lot of other officers. We've dealt with some couples who are so far off the beaten path of normalcy that this argue/assault/retreat/make love endless loop of craziness is as normal as any other family time. I know it's hard to believe,but it's true. Thus, you can never let your guard down as you are dealing with a very volatile situation.
Many times, the victim,usually a female, upon seeing that her spouse/significant other is being arrested, will react with explosive anger towards the officers.
Why? Many reasons. Maybe they are so demented that they are the previously mentioned couple, who enjoy conflict in a twisted way. Sometimes they know that if they don't argue and defend the male being arrested, that the violence will increase exponentially when he gets released. Sometimes it is because the male is the "bread winner" and they are scared and angry over him being arrested and maybe losing his job etc that they panic.
I ALWAYS tell people. Learn to trust your gut instinct. And act on it. I can't tell you him many times I've been told by women that they had an uneasy feeling about the guy in the elevator when the door opened or the guy parked next to her in the parking lot with with his trunk up,looking like he was as putting something in it, when, in fact, they were about to be victimized.
The couple below you are a COMPLETE unknown to you. All you've seen is snapshots of their lives.
One, make sure that you are ABSOLUTELY positive before you make that call etc that you are willing to deal with anything and everything that will come with making it. You've already voiced many concerns. They would know it's you, etc. Just he willing to accept and deal with any fallout once you immerse yourself in the situation.
Yes, you can make an anonymous call. Yes, they will do the math and know it's probably you. Will something happen?? It could, remember who you've dealing with.
If the officers do not have a cooperative witness or victim and cannot develop enough probable cause by voluntarily statements by the principals and any physical evidence they uncover, then a prosecution may be unlikely.
Just make sure before you walk through that door that you're willing to deal with possible fallout. It could be nothing or it coukd turn into YOU being the victim.
I WOULD document and keep a running diary of observations, recordings etc. in case she gets seriously hurt and finally wakes up and has him arrested. The rest is up to you.
I HATE making you feel like you should think twice about getting involved. I am assuming that you don't have others in your household who are there to support and protect you if things go sideways. If it is just you, please exercise prudence.
HE could finally push it too far one day and she has him arrested and she thanks you PROFUSELY for coming to her rescue!! All is well in the world, right?
Nope. Now the perpetrator might view YOU as the instrument of his demise and fixate on you, your car,house,pets,family.
I apologize for the lengthy diatribe, but I feel that even though it's not right what's happening to her, the fact is that YOU being okay is the most important thing.
I could be all wet on this situation, that is the inherent risk when you are dealing with a predator. Stay safe!
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#23

Post by maydijo »

We tried to get involved once, with my husband's sister, when her husband started controlling every aspect of her life. We're not sure physical abuse is/was a factor but there is/was definitely financial, verbal, and emotional abuse, and we were worried. He expressed this concern in what I felt (and still feel) was a very calm, rational way. As I recall he said, "We don't like the way he treats you." She blew up and it started a very big, very ugly family war. My husband took this action after discussing it with his parents, who were also concerned, but his parents hung him out to dry after she said that if they didn't take her side, her husband would force her to move overseas with the kids in order to escape from us. (But yeah, no control issues going on there.) I really can't exaggerate how ugly it got - she just refused to talk to us for years; but my husband's parents turned on us and were incredibly nasty about it all. That was about eight years ago and things are only now getting back to some semblance of normality. They're still married and he's still controlling her every move, and also controlling their children. But we are not getting involved anymore. My advice? Other than calling 911 if you feel it's safe to do so, stay out of it. Sure, it's probably going to end badly, but if it does that's on him and not on you.

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Kendra
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#24

Post by Kendra »

esseff44 wrote:That's why I suggested keeping a recording device at hand. You know what you heard and can replay it if needed.
If I had one.

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Kendra
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Re: Potential domestic violence, neighbors below

#25

Post by Kendra »

Xtreme1 wrote: :snippity:
I HATE making you feel like you should think twice about getting involved. I am assuming that you don't have others in your household who are there to support and protect you if things go sideways. If it is just you, please exercise prudence.
HE could finally push it too far one day and she has him arrested and she thanks you PROFUSELY for coming to her rescue!! All is well in the world, right?
Nope. Now the perpetrator might view YOU as the instrument of his demise and fixate on you, your car,house,pets,family.
I apologize for the lengthy diatribe, but I feel that even though it's not right what's happening to her, the fact is that YOU being okay is the most important thing.
I could be all wet on this situation, that is the inherent risk when you are dealing with a predator. Stay safe!
Exactly. Unless their arguments spill outside (they have done that twice now) and others in the adjacent units hear it and might also call 911, I just don't want to do it. I know that might sound uncaring, but she keeps letting it happen. From the argument last month that spilled outside and what I heard of his talk with the officers, it's her mother who bought the condo for her to rent, so in that aspect she's in charge of the home and not him.

I just can't wrap my head around being so violently tossed against a wall multiple times it shook the pictures on my wall directly above, to her screaming multiple times to GET OUT and she was going to get a restraining order the next day (she was screaming so loud I could hear word for word directly above) and he's back in the fold later the same day.

Thanks everyone again for this input. If I can find a recording device (do I have that on my phone?) I may try that, and notes are a good suggestion as well.

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