Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Earlier this week, my roommate and I called the police after witnessing what looked like two villains breaking the law.

First, we heard the sound of glass breaking. We looked up, but pretty much ignored it. Then, we heard more glass break and we rushed to our window to see what was going on in the street below. Across the street, a man was kicking in a door and breaking the glass window of the door. This seemed… strange. But not as strange as when another guy came out, also bashed the window in, then ran back into the building and tried to jump out his first floor (not ground floor, so it was about 7 feet up) window. Not able to break through on his first try, this second man straddled the window while working to bust it open and jump free. Once landing, he ran away.

As you can imagine, many expletives were being shouted the whole time. Glass covered the sidewalk and while it was dark, Roommate and I assumed there was a lot of blood, as well. We live on one of the busiest streets in Minneapolis, so clueless pedestrians were walking past the scene only seconds later, completely unaware that if they turned to their left, some crazy dude covered in blood might be running down the alley toward them.

This is why, even though the action had subsided, Roommate and I decided to call the police. I called 911, quickly informed the operator that it was not an emergency call, then described the incident in full detail, giving descriptive details of the two men we’d seen. (Actually, Roommate described them to me, and then I relayed them to the operator, because it became apparent during this crime watch that I am in need of glasses.)

Within five minutes, the men had returned to the scene, at the exact same time as a single cop car drove down the street. The window jumper taunted the cop, who must have called for backup and after quite a scuffle, the two men were apprehended. Then, being the Law and Order junkies that we are, we wondered if we should go to “give a statement.” I know. We’re losers. But there had been only one cop car dispatched to the scene, and now there were no fewer than eight cop cars outside our window, so it seemed like things had escalated to the point where perhaps we could clarify what had started the whole thing.

And so we went down there, flagged down a cop, and gave our report. I still don’t know if this was helpful, or necessary, but I suppose more info is always better in cases like this. Plus, we all know that in cop movies, they interview the people across the street with a good vantage point, so why not just jump the gun there, eh? We were thanked for our call and statement, and informed that we had been witnessing the tail end of a domestic dispute. While this was significantly less exciting than what we originally assumed had happened, I was still very glad that we took the initiative to call. It was apparent by the way they were taken into custody that help was needed, even if to just remove them from the situation and get everyone calmed down. Moreover, despite living in a busy hub of the city, I do consider my neighborhood safe and I’d like to keep it that way. Last, as Eric reminded me, I defied the bystander effect that everyone learns about in Psych 101 by calling in even though I wasn’t sure if it was necessary to do so.

Villains? Perhaps not. Still, something wacky happened and I’m glad that by being proactive, we helped to return the peace and minimize damage and injury.



LH said...

I loved that you went out to talk to the police.
That made me laugh.

Kudos to you for not being a bystander and caring about your neighborhood. If I were you, I'd be feeling pretty darned good about myself right about now.

Emily Anne said...

So you know how you were a freak child paranoid about robbers in Bloomington? Well, I continue to be a freak adult paranoid about rapists in my gated complex in Texas.

Nearly every night as I'm walking Jake through the dozen or so apartment buildings I think about the bystander effect and wonder if Texans would help a girl out if I screamed bloody murder outside their balcony. (I'm well aware I have issues.)