When To Call The Police On Your Neighbors

Due to the differences in our cultures, religions, races, backgrounds, or even gender, rubbing shoulders with those living around us is more common than expected. Do you have that one nosy neighbor who always knows everything happening around? Or the one always fighting and arguing with their spouse? Or the one who plays loud music at 2 in the morning?

Such neighbors exist, and their behaviors may be annoying, bothering, and even scary. Some of these behaviors make us want to report them to the cops, but sometimes we just brush it off and let it go.

So, where do we draw the line between letting these behaviors go and calling the police? Is it always necessary to call the cops after every little misunderstanding? Or should we only call the police if the neighbors are engaging in criminal activities?

First, Try Local Dialogue

Calling the cops on your neighbors isn’t always the best first step. It should be the last option on the table.

Keep in mind that you will probably live with your neighbors for a significant amount of time, and misunderstandings are bound to occur. Everyone has their flaws; the earlier we accept that, the easier it will be to live with others.

When you call the police on your neighbors, they will most likely live to remember that occasion. If it is something that could have been mutually solved, like holding parties during the weekends, calling the police would break the relationship you had built with your neighbors.

Additionally, the police do not appreciate being called for every minor offense, such as playing loud music. On arrival, they would probably like to know if you had talked to your neighbor, given a notice, or talked to the house property management prior to calling them.

Therefore, some cases usually require communicating with your neighbors before involving the police.

When Internal Negotiation Fails

Let’s face it. Some disputes cannot be solved simply through talking and negotiations, particularly if a law is broken.

So, at what point should we call for the Police’s help? Let’s have a look.

When Physical Threats Are Made

When your neighbor threatens to harm you or your family, report them immediately to the police. Such threats may leave you and your family feeling physically unsafe. If your neighbor has had violent tendencies in the past, do not hesitate to report such threats to the police.

Even if you still feel safe after the threats, you might still want to call the police after exhausting all self-help ways to fix your neighbor’s situation. Issuing physical threats is a way of violating the law, and it is only necessary to inform the relevant authorities.

Noisy Neighbors

It is getting close to 2 in the morning, you have to be up by 6 o’clock to get ready for work, but all you hear is your neighbor’s music on full blast. You have requested them to turn down the volume, especially during such wee hours of the morning, but they continue. You have even contacted the property management team, but still nothing has happened. What is your next step?

Definitely contacting the police! Normally, people will tone down their music whenever they see a law enforcement officer on their door. Most neighborhoods have noise ordinances, and numerous visits from the police may attract fines.

If the noises from the neighbors are frightening, such as gunshots, fireworks, or even glass breakages, it is important to alert the police immediately for investigations to be done and ensure that no one gets hurt.

For non-frightening or n0n-threatening noise complaints, it is only necessary to call the police after confronting your neighbors about the noise. If you do not approach them, you may end up stirring a bad relationship between you.

If your neighbor intimidates you in any kind of way, you are not under any legal authority to talk to them before calling the cops.

Domestic Violence

This is a huge one, and you will probably have internal conflicts before reporting. When you hear your neighbors arguing and the argument escalates to violence where you hear screams, thudding, crashing, and the sound of breakages, you will want to call the police for help.

Domestic violence behaviors are often overlooked. Everyday arguments between couples are normal, but they become harmful if they escalate to violence. If you meet your couple neighbors and realize that one or both of them look physically abused, call the police the next time you hear them fighting. If you fear for the safety of your neighbors, it is only necessary to call the police.

Domestic violence has caused many murder cases for spouses and children. Reporting the matter to the police might help save lives.

Harassments From The Neighbors

Harassment comes in many forms. Your neighbor may harass you because of your gender, race, age, religion, culture, or even social background.

Sexual harassment occurs when neighbors discriminate against a gender different from their own and try to make the lives of their victims miserable. Examples of sexual harassment are unwelcome touching, staring, and suggestive jokes or comments.

When such harassments occur, despite the level of their magnitude, do not hesitate to contact the police. Sexual harassment has resulted in more harmful effects such as rape and murder.

Whether you or a member of your family suffered any form 0f harassment, it is your right to report the perpetrator to be punished and bear the consequences of their actions. These consequences usually involve a restraining order or a court-ordered injunction.

There are neighborhood harassment laws put in place to protect people from any kind of behavior that is regarded as offensive, annoying or derogative. Additionally, the police should offer you protection from violent behaviors resulting from any form of harassment by your neighbors.

Neighbor is Breaking The Law in Any Way

Neighbors who cause trouble are mostly associated with playing loud music and having multiple parties. But do you know there are still other numbers of causes that can be regarded as breaking the law by neighbors?

Behaviors such as picking a neighbor’s fruit overlapping from their garden or hovering after 9 pm could require some legal action.

The increasing number of complaints from neighbors led to the creation of the neighbor’s charter that offers guidance and warnings over neighbor law-breaking.

The following are some of the behaviors that could result in contacting the police if your neighbor is involved in them.

  • Attaching your washing line, plants, or garden hose to a neighbor’s wall or fence without seeking their consent first.
  • Taking fruits from your neighbor’s tree even if it overhangs on your land.
  • Smoke, whether from a house burner, garden chimney, or a barbecue.
  • A bright security light shining directly into a neighbor’s property could lead to light pollution or regarded as a nuisance.
  • Water damage caused by a neighbor’s actions, e.g., landscaping
  • Using your neighbor’s insecure Wi-Fi connection without their knowledge may result in them filing criminal charges against you under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 / the Communications Act 2003.

Consequences of Calling the Police on Your Neighbors

Calling the police on your neighbors usually comes with consequences, both negative and positive.

Before calling the police for minor cases such as neighbors blasting loud music in their house party at 11 pm, consider some effects that your action may have.

First, keep in mind that it is your neighbor and not some random stranger you have never interacted with before. You will be living with them and seeing them regularly from time to time. Therefore, how will calling the police on them impact your relationship? Police are, at best, a short-term solution. But do you understand that this neighbor is here to stay with you in the long run?

Secondly, the police are probably busy with more important tasks like catching criminals. The party will eventually stop anyway.

Third, and most importantly, involving the police may only cause worse situations and lead to unnecessary escalation. It could end up with people getting arrested or even shot. A worst-case scenario may be the flaring of tempers over minor issues, and the police may end up shooting someone, a situation that could have been avoided if the police had not been involved from the get-go.

Therefore, before calling the police, make sure that you have exhausted all other options such as dialogues and mediations.

On the contrary, some cases involving criminal activities or a threat to human life require contacting the police immediately. Reporting drug activities by the neighbors will help reduce the usage of illegal drugs while preventing the community from their long-lasting health consequences.

Calling the police on domestic violence and abuse cases is also necessary as it may lead to saving more lives of spouses and children. Child abuse could leave the victims with serious adverse health effects, and it will only be necessary to report such cases to the law.


When it comes to calling the police, it is very crucial to consider your actions first. If the case you wish to report involves criminal activity or endangers someone’s life, it is necessary to report it immediately.

However, if the case is minor and can be easily resolved through dialogue, reach out to your neighbors first. Through this, you will maintain a great relationship with them while still keeping your peace. CWP

Community Watch Paper post:

Bad Neighbors: How do we deal with problem

People loitering in your neighborhood

How to live in a Bad Neighborhood

Recent Posts