Suspicious vehicle in front of my house..What would you do?

I live in a pretty typical suburban neighborhood. Last night when I was begining to fall asleep, about 11:30PM, I heard car doors slamming. At first I think nothing of it, but then I think that those doors sounded awfully close and wondered if someone was getting in my truck that was parked in my driveway.

I got out of bed and looked out my window. There were no footprints in the freshly fallen snow in my driveway, but there was a older (early 2000’s) volkswagen sedan with dark tinted windows parked right in front of my house (headlights off, engine off). Then I see the faint glow of an LCD screen illuminating the driver’s face. I wait about 45 minutes and the person is still sitting in their car, still parked in front of my house, still playing with their phone or camera or whatever it was.

I finally turn on my porch light and driveway flood lights, and nothing changes. I then turn on my interior light (so he can see me) and I stare out my window at him hoping he’ll see that he has aroused curiousity and move on.

There is no reason to pass thru my neighborhood, it is ‘landlocked’ (if you will) and out of the way for anyone to enter, though it is not gated. So i start wondering what the hell this guy is doing out there (drunk, high, peeping tom, scouting the neighborhood, or innocently finishing a phone/text convo, or argument)

At this point it is about 30 mins past midnight, and I decide I either need to:
A. go to bed and forget about the guy.
B. call the cops to come investigate, or
C. walk out and talk to the dude, figure out his intentions, or encourage him to leave.

If I do (A) I am worried that if he will do something to my or my neighbors family or property.
If I do (B) am I going to have to stay awake til the cops get there, for possibly a guy just trying to sleep off a drunk, or for just trying not to drive and text.
If I do © I don’t know if the guy is crazy and armed or what.

After much deliberation, I finally put on my jeans and a jacket and walk out to the car. I peck on his window and he rolls it down. I asked if he needed some help or was lost. he just apologized and said he needed to be ‘down there’. I told him no problem, that I was just nervous and wondering what he was doing sitting in front of the house. He again apologized and drove off…problem solved.

After the whole ordeal I decide I prolly should not have put myself in danger by walking out there.

Do you think I would be overly sensitive to call the cops in this situation? What would you have done?

Apparently you live on a very quiet street. I would have assumed it was either a) kids looking for a quiet place to do … what their parents won’t let them do or b) the police, either watching my house or doing what their boss won’t let them do.

I would double check all the locks and wake up the dog, then go to bed. No way I would go out there unless I could use the excuse that I was walking the dog. Even then I wouldn’t knock on the window unless they were on my property. No way I would call the police unless I see an actual crime going on. But that’s just me.

Back when we had dogs, they were always large and generally were either obvious German Shepherd mixes or Chows. Anyway, we had people parking in front of our house or loitering there, and I admit that I walked those large dogs in the front yard. This usually solved the problem.

Nowadays, we have no dogs. So I’d call the cops and ask them to do a slow driveby, and talk to the person in the car if they could.

Maybe he was using somebody’s unsecured wi-fi?

I said “something else” because the exact same thing happened at my house several months ago and I decided to neither completely ignore them, nor call the cops. I also live in a typical suburban neighborhood. At about 11:00 I saw a big, old, blue Chevy Caprice sitting right in front of my house. I could see a couple kids in the car, they never got out. But I waited downstairs, listening for the car door and checking out the window every few minutes. They sat there for about an hour. I thought about calling the police, and I probably would have if I became too tired to keep watch.

Since when did it become illegal to park on a public street? Buzz off cranky old person.

Good call. Or trying to find good reception on his cell phone.

Release the hounds!

This happens weekly to me.

I live in average house in an average neighborhood with average break-ins and burglaries.
Had a drug-related double homicide down the street last year.

Even if I weren’t an ex-cop, I still investigate everyone. Most everyone’s excuse is they lose cell coverage as they go down the street, so they want to sit and chat on the phone.

Sorry, but no. Parking in the street is illegal, and I don’t want your ricer crap parked in front of my house anyway.

I confront everyone so I can see the occupants, write down the tag, and let them know someone’s watching. They all leave, which is what I wanted in the first place.

Recently, I heard a door close in the middle of the night, and looked out to see a van parked across the street at 2:30 in the morning. As I put the 3 million CP spotlight on them, they bolted, and I could see their plan: they had broken into my neighbor’s truck, unloaded all his tools in the driveway, and were about to fire-brigade them into the side door & go. Luckily I stopped them before they got anything loaded.

If you don’t do it, at least let the cops roust them. It’s always good to let people know someone has any eye on them, no matter where they are.

Where are you that parking in the street is illegal?

Good thinking, I had not thought of that!

It’s not illegal, but I’m starting to think I should have called the police anyway. The police could have made the decision whether they needed to do anything, instead of me putting myself at risk (by ignoring them, or by investigating further) to determine whether this person was a threat or just innocently checking emails.

In my neighborhood it’s best to call the police because nobody is just sitting there unless they’re up to no good. A few weeks ago not far from here they busted a woman selling meth out of the trunk of her car with her kid right there in the back seat.

There are No Parking signs so it IS illegal to park there.

Is it not common to have “No Parking” signs where you guys live? We have had them on the last three streets where I lived in Memphis. They’re also in front of all the school zones that I know of.

I missed the fact that he was actually in your driveway, so I answered Ignore. I’d change my answer to Go out and talk.

That’s a little risky, but I don’t think the police need to be involved for something most likely mundane.

Instead of actually confronting the occupant(s) you could always just take a pic of the plates with your camera phone.

In the situation you describe I think you had every right to be a little suspicious.

I thought that he might be using a cell phone or GPS, but the wifi didn’t occur to me.

I still think that it might be a good idea to ask the cops to do a driveby.

It’s not uncommon, but there are none in my neighborhood. a very few of my neighbors do park in the street, but I recognize them and they are generally not occupied while parked.

And possibly hacking into someone’s computer via their Wi-Fi.

Recently there was an episode of “Cops” in which officers were called on a report of a suspicious vehicle parked in a residential neighborhood. The guy was using a laptop and had a bunch of worksheets containing personal info from a number of people. He claimed he had the data based on prior product orders, but the cops checked and found that was bogus. He was arrested.

The cop who was interviewed said this was an increasingly common problem.

Wait, was the car in your driveway? If it is someone sitting in a car on a public street, it wouldn’t occur to me to react to it at all.

If he was just on the street, I might just ignore it, and I might go out and write down his license so he could see what I was doing. If he were up to no good he’d be gone in a second.

In your driveway, however, I’d call the police, and then try to write the license plate in a a way he can’t see you do it (and leave.) Unless you are in a very rural area, no one should be trespassing into your driveway. And I’d check that your wifi is secure.

It doesn’t happen to me because there is a park a block away, and lots of people park there. I check them out when walking the dog after dark - she is very slow in this area, so I have lots of time without arousing suspicion. There are some people chatting. There are some people using their phones. There are maie-female pairs, perhaps just getting away from parents, perhaps stepping out on SOs. And there are a few situations which seem like hooker hook-ups. I don’t write down licenses but I am clearly paying attention, and very few people have ever left. So it is probably innocent, but still, no one should park in anyone else’s driveway.