“A couple months ago, a drunken neighbor got lost in our very dicey neighborhood (mistook our house for one in which he had rented a room the day before) and tried to break in – tried for 45 minutes – it took that long for the police to show up.
We were frightened for the first 35 minutes, until we figured out that this stranger was “just” drunk (as though that somehow made us safer, ha). And hapless.
I called 911 multiple times and the operator finally told me to stop calling, said there was nothing she could do to speed up the patrol car response. I said, Well, I’m not hanging up. You can listen to this racket too. So she did, and kept talking to me.
The guy tried to throw a tree stump through a window, but the stump was too heavy for him to manage that, and because the window was plexiglas it did not yield to his lesser assaults. But still he remained on the porch, trying to break the door down. We kept him out by leaning heavily against and pushing back on our side of the bulging door. We were afraid to leave via the back door, thinking that in the dark back yard, the police could mistake us for perps and tackle or shoot us, if they ever showed up. Or the guy could maybe be a true psycho, and find us there. It was 1:30 am.
There weren’t enough patrol cars out that night. When the cops finally arrived, they were professional, kind, apologetic, and very unhappy about the delay. And the neighbor, who turned out to look (and probably be) quite harmless, was hugely embarrassed. He probably found another room to rent; we haven’t seen him around.
We didn’t make a complaint about the response time. I guess we should have. I do have a case number, so could do it late I guess.
It could have been very, very bad. Toward the end I had a small, heavy cast-iron skillet in hand and might have hurt the guy. And I would have regretted that. I know what the aftermath of violence looks and feels like. (I also know, now, that I was in those moments capable of violence. Just one more reason why I will never keep a gun.)
So. When is SPD going to staff up? Especially now, our city needs far better coverage.”