Did we overreact?

Here’s the story:

Last night, my husband and I are sitting in our living room (we have a garden apartment). It’s about 9:10PM. The doorbell rings. Mr. Jeannie looks out the window and sees a guy he’s never seen before ringing all of the doorbells to the building (six apartments are in the bldg). So we ignore him. He continues to ring the bell over & over. Mr. Jeannie wants to call the police. I say ignore him. But then the guy starts banging on our window. “Okay, call the non-emergency number,” I say. So he calls. The police are there in two minutes (nice to know they’re so quick). One officer comes to the door. Apparently, the guy had just moved in on Wednesday. He didn’t have the key to the outside door (I don’t know if the manager forget to give it to him, or if the guy lost it). I think we should go up and apologize. He thinks the guy might be mad and we should avoid him.
Do you guys think we overreacted to the situation?

A stranger ringing your doorbell and banging on your window? And you called the cops?

You should have thrown the door open and invited him in, shown him where you keep your valuables, given him the PINs to all your credit cards and made him dinner! Where’s your sense of hospitality?

You did exactly the right thing. He was behaving in an unusual and unpredictable manner. He could have been dangerous. Turns out he wasn’t, but there was no way to know. The police handled the situation. That’s what they do. You notified the police. That’s what you do.

i think he/is the kind/of person who might if
he worked his way up/in the world/for several
years eventually/get to be/a sneak thief
“king nicky”, archyology
Don Marquis

I’m with pluto on this one. You might want to go over and explain the situation to him and tell him you hope there are no hard feelings, if you are feeling bad about it, but you were completely in the right for what you did and you should NOT apologize!

“Disco balls create an enchanting, dazzling effect of light shafts, adding movement and glamour to any occasion”
O p a l C a t

You did the right thing. It takes a lot less than that for me to call the police.

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.

I agree. You did NOT overreact. In fact, if I were him, I’d appreciate knowing that someone was keeping an eye on the building and might head off an actual burglar before he hit every apartment in the whole place.

And if the guy IS mad, so much the more reason to clear the air.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Yeah, go say hi and explain the misunderstanding. Anyone who isn’t an absolute jerk will laugh about it and you’ll all say hi in the hallway in the future.

I once got the cops called while helping a locked-out neighbor through his window. I’m glad; I have a shaved head and goatee and disreputable clothes… I wouldn’t want me in my building, for heaven’s sake.

Living in an apartment, you sometimes get the “I’m here to see my friend; can you let me in?” One such person was here tonight. I tell them what I always do; they can get their friend to let them in.

A few weeks ago, we got someone who said they wanted to look at an apartment that was for rent—at 9 pm. Right.

If life were always like this…if they took your guns and left this stuff…we’d live a lot better.

I think you did overreact a little, with the police thing. Maybe you should have called someone a little les authoritive to get to the root of his problem.

Like whom, Wage? Calling the cops doesn’t always mean getting someone into trouble; it can mean getting help to someone who needs it.

You didn’t overreact. Your actions were perfectly appropriate. By all means introduce yourself to the guy, but don’t gush apologies. No one was harmed and you don’t owe an apology.


You absolutely did the right thing. No doubts about it.

Sanford Strong puts it best “Your feelings second, my safety first”.

Criminals prey on civilized people. They count on somebody not wanting to hurt their feelings. It is an all to common MO. Three of the absolute most common:

  1. Helping carry your groceries.
  2. Asking for the time.
  3. Can’t get into the apartment building because I lost my keys/the person I know here didn’t give me a key to the front security door

Especially with #1, always remember a reasonable person will understand a refusal of their assistance! Period. End of discussion. They may say “What the **** is your problem, *****. I am just trying to help.” and storm off, but they will go away. Be wary of the ones that insist on helping and don’t go away (answer: Flee! Immediately. Period. Don’t wait around to see what they are planning).

Gavin DeBecker’s “Gift of Fear” talks about this, as does Sanford Strong’s “Strong on Defense”. Frankly, on this subject, I would go with “Gift of Fear”. Go get it from your library and read it (or better still buy it). Great book, and entertaining as well, which is unusual for the subject matter. It is in the Self-Help section of the bookstore.

Thanks, guys. I don’t feel so bad about it anymore. I was just imagining how scared the guy probably was when the cops approached (I know that would have made me nervous). I haven’t seen the new neighbor again, but when I do, I’ll make sure there’s no hard feelings.

The ways to abuse friendly neighbours are very good reasons why you should cultivate a friend amongst your building mates - that way if you are truly locked out you have someone to buzz.

You did the safe, right thing. Good job.

Why couldn’t you just have fired a couple warning shots with a high-powered rifle?

You had to call the police?

[Dark Helmet]

What’s with you, mon?

[/Dark Helmet]

You did the right thing, absolutely.

I would still go apologize. Far as I’m concerned, it’s a generous gesture to apologize when you clearly aren’t obligated to do so, and it can’t hurt to have your neighbor see you as both practical and a-ok people. If he’s a jerk about it, at least you tried. But I think it’s definitely worthwhile to take that extra step to get your neighbors on your side.

I’m thinking that if Jeannie has not apologized by now, it might be a little late. Notice the dates?

I was just thinking the same thing, evilbeth. LOL I’m wondering why matt revived this thread after almost a year. Did some board fluke put this on the front page so it looked new?

But, since it’s already been resurrected, a little story of my own. I used to live in a townhouse style condo with a back patio right off the living room that was accessible through big sliding glass doors. There was a barbeque and an umbrella table and chairs out there.

I came home one night (it was after dark, probably between 9:00 and 10:00pm) and sat down in the living room to watch tv. All of a sudden I start hearing noises at the glass doors. I couldn’t see who it was because the vertical blinds were closed and I couldn’t tell exactly what was making the noise. It sounded like someone might be trying to jimmy the lock or something.

So I called the police. They were there in just a few minutes and while one of them came in through the house, the other went around back to check it out. Turns out, since it was a nice night out, my next door neighbor (with whom I was very close friends) had decided to take advantage of my patio table to sit and have a glass of wine and relax. While sitting there, he saw my cat poke her head through the blinds and started picking up little rocks or pebbles and tossing them at the door to “play” with her (not in a mean way, but to try to get her to bat at them or something).

I did not feel bad about calling the police on him. He knew he was more than welcome to make himself at home in my yard, but I asked him next time if he would please at least leave me a message on my answering machine that he’d be out there so I wouldn’t get scared not knowing who was in my yard.

I occasionally get people trying to sell me something, convert my religion or leave me flyers for local restaurants, who think nothing of coming to my front door after dark. Now what I do is go to the door, ask who it is without opening it and no matter who they say they are or what they say they want, I tell them that I do not open my door to strangers after dark and to please leave whatever it is they want me to see on the barbeque and I walk away. I’ve never had anyone not be understanding about this. My safety is more important than a 10% off coupon to Pizza Hut!

You did the right thing. Perhaps next time he gets locked out he’ll be less aggressive and think–maybe he should’ve thought how scary he might appear to people (put himself in your shoes). Maybe next time he’s in that situation he’ll knock on the window and call out loudly through the glass, “I’ve just moved in and locked myself out–can you call building management/maintenance for me? I’d appreciate it,” and then back off.

You probably could’ve called Building Management too or instead of the police and let them made the judgment call, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling the cops; they didn’t arrest him, and they helped him get in, right?

On a couple of occasions we’ve relunctantly opened our door late at night (between 9:00 and 11:00) to strangers (who had the “wrong apartment”) and then questioned our sanity and safety. Better safe than sorry (or fearful).