What Would You Have Done?

There’s a non-violent registered offender in my neighborhood.  He lives 2 doors away.

I  personally don’t  know the young man, nor did I know his parents who lived there with him, but who now seem to have relocated.  It’s one of those neighborhoods where thirty years ago you knew everyone, but now, life is different, people move in and out, seemingly over-night.  New neighbors are seldom seen outside. No one knows anyone anymore.

Several years ago I noticed  police cars at this young man’s home on multiple occassions.  I didn’t pay it much attention, as the saying goes “not my circus, not my monkeys.”  Whatever was going on there was none of my business.

One very hot summer day this young man was running house to house in the neighborhood, knocking on doors, asking to use the phone.  He appeared  frantic, his clothing was disheveled and he looked like he might have been on drugs.  He approached my young daughter as she went to the mailbox, asked if she had a phone he could use.  It sort of scared my daughter, but she politely replied ‘No” and quickly came inside.  An hour or so later, he approached my husband in our driveway, again asking to use a phone.  My husband asked him to “leave the property” which caused the young man to immediately put his hands up in the air and back off the property saying “yes sir”.

OK we thought, this is someone who’s had encounters with the law before.

Later in the day, I noticed this young man  sitting on the ground  next to the air conditioning unit of his house. Knees to his chest, his head in his hands, just sort of rocking.

“There is something wrong with the guy” I said.

Not knowing the young man or if he was a threat to himself or others, I contacted the police, asked them to do a welfare check on the young man.  Maybe he was strung out on drugs, maybe he was having heat stroke, maybe he was locked out of his house, I didn’t know, I just knew something wasn’t right and he looked like he needed some help.

I watched out the window long enough to see the police arrive and  speak with him.  I don’t know what was said or what the problem turned out to be, I only know that the police left, without the young man in tow.

Fast forward several years.

I’ve since checked the registry for my neighborhood.  I now know that this quiet young man is anon-violent registered offender. He was on the registry at the time I called the police. I didn’t know it then.

Knowing what I know now, would it have made a difference in the way I handled the situation? Would I still have called the police to come check on this guy knowing that the last thing he probably needed was another police car in front of his home?

I want to say Yes, he seemed like he needed help so I called for help.

But I also want to say No, if calling the police caused this young man any further problems or embarrassment than he’s already had to endure, then I wouldn’t have wanted that for him.  His life is probably hard enough.


Knowing what I know now, maybe I just would have approached him and asked if there was a problem.  Now that I think of it, not knowing he was a registrant seemed to have made me more fearful of him than if I knew he was a registrant.

How’s that for a change.?

What would you have done?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *