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When do you call 911?


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This morning we had a little too much excitement at our house. At about 8:30 am some man pounded on and broke through the back fence into our yard. He took about 3 steps into our yard and turned around and went back through the hole he created. He then climbed the neighbors tree and disappeared.

 

I was confused and startled. I don't think he ever saw me. But he was gone so I didn't worry about it too much. I called the home owner (we rent) and he said he would fix the fence and suggested that we call 911. I didn't see the point but was happy that he was going to fix the fence.

 

A few minutes later there were cops everywhere and we figured out that the man I had seen was actively being hunted by the cops. Shortly after that, because I couldn't guarantee that the back door had been locked this whole time several cops with LARGE guns sent us outside and went through our whole house. No bad guy.

 

A whole bunch of officers went through the whole in our fence. After still more hunting the bad guy was found diagonally from our house in the neighbor's shed. He was less than three feet from where I saw him in our yard.

 

So the home owner, the police investigator and my Dad all said I should have called 911 when I saw him the first time. (My husband was home when we first saw the guy, but then left for work between seeing him and all the cops arriving. He didn't think we were in danger.) I will call if anything ever happens again, but at the time I didn't feel that I (or the kids) were in any danger. The man was strange but he didn't act threatening. It just didn't seem to be a 911 problem. Obviously I am rather conservative in my calling of emergencies.

 

So where is your call 911 line? And would this situation have passed it?

 

(Just a word of thanks to all the police officers out there. My experience with the officers today was nothing short of amazing. They were professional and very concerned about us and our safety. The officer who took my statement needed me to look at the man they had caught and had someone watch the kids in our house and sent a different officer to do that. He said nice things about homeschooling and was very supportive of everything from being a stay at home parent to homeschooling. I haven't had much need to talk to the police but today's experience was certainly a good one. Thank you for everything.)

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I'm not sure if I would have called 911 but I would have called the non-emerg police #. I have the # handy by the phone & I've called it several times to report 'suspicious behaviour'. We've had a bit of vandalism and petty crime in the neighbourhood so people keep an eye out and call the cops to do a drive by if there are punks hanging around.

 

And now, Vancouver is in the middle of a gang war so any suspicious bhvr would certainly be reportable.

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If that had happened here I would have called 911. Not only did he destroy part of the fence, he trespassed on your property and was acting extremely suspicious.

 

My husband is a fire fighter and you would be amazed at how many people die because they would prefer to drive themselves to the hospital (or worse, the doctor's office) than call 911. Even if it is a false alarm (medical or otherwise) that's what those folks are there for.

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I would have called the cops and said very calmly, "hey this weird guy put a hole in my fence and then climbed the neighbors tree and disappeared... no, I don't think I'm currently in danger, but he will be if he puts another hole in my fence. I've got this useless but much loved minature poodle and there's gonna be heck to pay if he lets my pooch out of the yard. My kids will be crying and yelping for days/weeks about it and I am NOT going to be the only one to suffer that."

 

well that's my fantasy version, which I might have actually said, but more likely I'd just say, "hey there's some wacko man putting holes in fences and climbing trees out here - somebody needs to come see what this guy's issue is."

 

so long story short - yes, I'd have called the cops.

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Other than while we were sitting outside across the street and the cops were going through our house, the kids were fine. They were impressed with the shot guns and the body armor. They figured out quickly that the guys with the guns were keeping them safe and they were going to be fine. They played in the backyard this afternoon and watched the home owner fix the fence this afternoon too.

 

While I was giving the statement my youngest told the officer all about legos, my middle played on the piano for him and my oldest found a book and read it. All very normal.

 

I think the fact I was so calm helped them not flip out.

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I would have called the cops and said very calmly, "hey this weird guy put a hole in my fence and then climbed the neighbors tree and disappeared... no, I don't think I'm currently in danger, but he will be if he puts another hole in my fence. I've got this useless but much loved minature poodle and there's gonna be heck to pay if he lets my pooch out of the yard. My kids will be crying and yelping for days/weeks about it and I am NOT going to be the only one to suffer that."

:roflmao

 

I may have called the non-emergency #, but I wouldn't have called 911... but I think either one would have been an effective option in this case.

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:roflmao

 

I may have called the non-emergency #, but I wouldn't have called 911... but I think either one would have been an effective option in this case.

 

In my area, they want you to use 911 for anything timely, which this certainly was. If you wish to discuss a non-critical complaint about a neighbor that may turn into criminal charges, then by all means, call the non-emergency number. They will route you to the most appropriate person.

 

But a stranger breaking fences and walking in yards, or even just a 'suspicious stranger lurking,' should most likely be reported to 911. Going through the non-emergency number simply takes too long for them to respond in a timely manner.

 

If you make the wrong judgement call, they will simply ask you to hang up and call the non-emergency number. Of course, one could always call the non-emergency number and ask for clarification!

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Yes, I would have called; it's clearly a weird situation. Normal people don't knock holes in random fences and climb other people's trees. And if it occurred to me, I would be a bit worried that the guy was a tweeker, given the magnitude of the meth problem around here, but I don't normally give that a lot of thought so I might not think of it. I think my first reaction would be to call the non-emergency number, but really, common sense says 911 would be better.

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Now that we know how the event unfolded, of course calling 911 seems logical. At the time, though? Nah, I wouldn't have called. After a processed it for a few minutes, I likely would have phoned the non-emergency number, though. I've only phoned 911 once in my life, and that followed being physically assaulted, so...no question on that one.

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I would have called 911 without hesitation. A person doesn't just break into property if they are just going for a walk. I would have thought he was going to break into my house but realized that someone was here so went to look for a better opportunity. Alerting the police might save my neighbors from any harm.

 

If 911 doesn't feel your situation is an emergency, they will let you know and tell you what to do. But it's always better to be safe than sorry.

 

I phoned 911 when someone jumped their car over the curb and into my yard at 2:30am. There was NO way I was going to go out there and see what was going on. When the police got there, the driver was sitting in his car and was so drunk he had no idea his car wasn't on the road. I think of all the 'what ifs' and personally I won't put myself or my family in danger for an unknown situation.

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I would definitely have called. Even if the situation was similar and my family wasn't in any imminent danger, there is a possibility that the individual has some sort of physical or psychological condition that requires immediate intervention.

 

A few months ago police officers brought a man into the hospital at 2:00 in the morning who had on no shoes and no shirt and was shouting incoherently. It turns out he was schizophrenic and had not been taking his meds for a while because he couldn't afford them.

 

Sometimes they don't know what they're doing and it's the only way social services can be mobilized so they can get the care they need (sad but true). I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when something odd like that happens.

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I get that many of you would call 911. Do you get a good response from your police?

 

We recently moved here from Arizona. I am not used to responsive police. There our neighbor called around 2:00 am because her husband was being violent. They came at 10:00 the next morning to OUR house because they got the house wrong. Our car was broken into and the radio stolen. They didn't even come out at all. They took a report over the phone because they were too busy.

 

I learned that the police were... at best ineffective. And it wasn't worth it to call them. They weren't going to come in a timely manner if at all.

 

So do you get a response if you call your police department?

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So where is your call 911 line? And would this situation have passed it?

 

 

 

I absolutely would have called 911 in that situation. Anytime anyone is acting bizarrely, it is better to call than to ignore it. If you don't end up in danger yourself, others could be in danger or the person who is acting bizarrely could be in danger. Quickly getting someone to the scene who could assess the situation is important.

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I'd have called 911. I'd rather they be irritated with me than be killed because I hesitated.

 

Last summer, I saw someone take a crow bar and break into the vacant house across the street. So, I called 911 and they kept me on the phone until the police arrived and questioned the people. Turns out, they were the owners. The house sat there empty for two years, then when they returned, they had to break in. Odd.

 

Anyway, I'm more of a "be a pest and be safe" person.

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IMO, that was totally 911-worthy. Whether he was threatening or not, maybe drunk, whatever, he was clearly doing something he shouldn't have been by breaking down your fence.

 

I recently called 911 to report a baby left in a running vehicle in a Best Buy parking lot. I hate to be "that" person because I've certainly left the kids in the car to run in and pay for gas or put library books in the drop. But I would never have done this! I stayed by the car until the owner came out and moved it (25 minutes after I got there) when he saw me babysitting it. So I followed him. The cops came and decided to press charges after reviewing the security camera footage. Like I said, I hate to be "that" person, but when I first saw the baby, I tried the door of the car and it was unlocked! That's just stupid.

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I called 911 for the first time ever last spring. I was driving to work and passed a fire in the midst of some woods. I thought it might be a controlled fire, but I didn't see anyone around (going by at 60 MPH LOL). So I picked up my cell phone and called because there was a house nearby, and if it wasn't a controlled fire, I didn't want their house burning down. We live in a rural area so it's possible no one else might have seen it. I told them I didn't know but just wanted to report it in case and they said thank you and hung up.

 

In your situation, yeah, I probably would have called.

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We get good response times out of our sheriff's office when we call out here. The problem is that we have to pay attention to where the incident is occuring and whether the perps cross the street... if I walk across the street, I'm in a different county. In your situation, I probably would have watched him and then maybe called when I saw him treed in the neighbor's yard. Most of the neighbors around here pack heat and are old enough to remember the days when the gangs were active and fighting over turf, so the 'bad guys' don't usually try this street. :D

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I get that many of you would call 911. Do you get a good response from your police?

 

We recently moved here from Arizona. I am not used to responsive police. There our neighbor called around 2:00 am because her husband was being violent. They came at 10:00 the next morning to OUR house because they got the house wrong. Our car was broken into and the radio stolen. They didn't even come out at all. They took a report over the phone because they were too busy.

 

I learned that the police were... at best ineffective. And it wasn't worth it to call them. They weren't going to come in a timely manner if at all.

 

So do you get a response if you call your police department?

 

This is what our police are like here. The fastest response we've gotten was when I called in a badly parked car in front of my house. The guy parked his car about 5 ft from the curb right in the middle of a busy arterial and went to sleep. They arrived minutes after my call; I was shocked.

 

Regardless, I would have called because he was destroying property and trespassing. I may have suggested I was afraid of him returning and breaking into my house where I was with kids...and asked what I should do, especially if he has a gun. I live in a high crime neighborhood so this isn't a stretch by any means.

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I would definitely have called. Even if the situation was similar and my family wasn't in any imminent danger, there is a possibility that the individual has some sort of physical or psychological condition that requires immediate intervention.

 

A few months ago police officers brought a man into the hospital at 2:00 in the morning who had on no shoes and no shirt and was shouting incoherently. It turns out he was schizophrenic and had not been taking his meds for a while because he couldn't afford them.

 

Sometimes they don't know what they're doing and it's the only way social services can be mobilized so they can get the care they need (sad but true). I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when something odd like that happens.

 

This is what I thought of too. I would absolutely have called because I'd be worried for OUR safety, but even if I didn't feel threatened, I'd also be worried for his or someone else's safety. Someone busting straight through fences is not someone acting normally!

 

I get that many of you would call 911. Do you get a good response from your police?

 

We recently moved here from Arizona. I am not used to responsive police. There our neighbor called around 2:00 am because her husband was being violent. They came at 10:00 the next morning to OUR house because they got the house wrong. Our car was broken into and the radio stolen. They didn't even come out at all. They took a report over the phone because they were too busy.

 

I learned that the police were... at best ineffective. And it wasn't worth it to call them. They weren't going to come in a timely manner if at all.

 

So do you get a response if you call your police department?

 

Yes, ours are very responsive. My toddler DDs each managed mess with the phone enough to trigger emergency response, and once I was hearing strange noises in our new house and was freaked out and accidentally dialed 911 (was trying to set it so I could just hit redial, but guess I didn't hang up fast enough!). Each time, a police offer was at our door within three minutes. They were always EXTREMELY nice, and the time that I was worried about the noises in the house, he offered to come in and walk through the house for me so I would feel better. They were never annoyed at the calls, and always said it was better to be safe than sorry.

 

I recently called 911 to report a baby left in a running vehicle in a Best Buy parking lot. I hate to be "that" person because I've certainly left the kids in the car to run in and pay for gas or put library books in the drop. But I would never have done this! I stayed by the car until the owner came out and moved it (25 minutes after I got there) when he saw me babysitting it. So I followed him. The cops came and decided to press charges after reviewing the security camera footage. Like I said, I hate to be "that" person, but when I first saw the baby, I tried the door of the car and it was unlocked! That's just stupid.

 

This is just heartbreaking :(

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Well, DH just called 911 three months ago when I gave birth in our tub before the midwife arrived. ;) Not even the paramedics made it in time. My little one was in a hurry!

 

 

I'm not sure I would have called in your situation either. I would have called the police but not through 911. I would have called the station directly.

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Yea - I'd have called 911 and did when a car broke through a neighbor's fence and then pulled away.

 

I called the non-emergency number last year when I watched a man taking pictures of children leaving the school (we live across the street from an elementary school). They came and questioned him and I never heard about it again. Well, that man showed up on my front porch a couple days later! I had just pulled in the driveway. He told me he wanted to thank me for calling the police - he was a firefighter and looking back he said he knew that must have looked suspicious. But, he was taking pictures of his dd who was on her first day as a crossing guard!

 

And, yes, our police DO respond - and quickly! We called 911 when my then 6 yo had a seizure. They were here VERY fast and got him to the ER before he had even stopped seizing. (That was SO hard watching the ambulance pull away with him in it and not me!) Once, dh called the non-emergency number for advice on what to do for a bat in our house. They said it was a slow night and they'd be right over. They sent TWO squad cars!!!

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I would have thought he was drunk or on some kind of drugs.

I would have assumed it was because of this economy and being laid off that he got smashed drunk all night long and into the morning and then got lost in my yard. I would not have called 911 either. I generally don't fear strangers. What I fear now are people I think I know. And that's a story for later......

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We get a good response, but we live in a small town. But when we lived in a suburb of San Diego we also got a good response so maybe it has to do with where your problem ranks on their list of issues. I know when I lived with my parents in LA in the 70s and 80s the police were notorious for response times like you are describing. Apparently they got better in the 90s there.

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When in doubt - call 911. Let them decide whether or not to respond (odds are they will come out to make sure everything is ok). It is the job of the police/fire/paramedics to help us ...but they can not do their job if we do not CALL.

 

My dd's godfather is a neighborhood fireman/paramedic. He always to call 911.

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Other than while we were sitting outside across the street and the cops were going through our house, the kids were fine. They were impressed with the shot guns and the body armor. They figured out quickly that the guys with the guns were keeping them safe and they were going to be fine. They played in the backyard this afternoon and watched the home owner fix the fence this afternoon too.

 

While I was giving the statement my youngest told the officer all about legos, my middle played on the piano for him and my oldest found a book and read it. All very normal.

 

I think the fact I was so calm helped them not flip out.

 

You have also taught them, by example, not to fear the police! Which is GOOD!!!

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So do you get a response if you call your police department?

 

Yes, we get an immediate response from our police department. We've had to call 911 twice from our house. Once when my mother was babysitting and thought she heard someone bumping around outside (turned out to be a dog). And another time when dh and I were awakened in the middle of the night by someone tapping on our bedroom window. Both times an officer arrived within 2 or 3 minutes.

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So do you get a response if you call your police department?

 

Oh my, Yes! I've called 911 in 4 different counties and they've always been very quick to respond. I can't imagine them not responding quickly. I wouldn't feel comfortable living in an area where they took so long to respond. I hope you never really need them!!

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I have only ever called 911 once. A few years ago I was sitting in my dining room near my front porch around 10:00pm. All of a sudden I heard a loud shattering right behind me. It was so loud that I screamed. I was terrified that someone was trying to break into my house.

 

Turned out, my neighbors saw the whole thing. Some punk kids were roaming in our neighborhood, picked up an edging brick from my neighbors yard and proceeded to throw it through MY window. They were never caught.

 

We have never had any problems since, but it sure did make me mad.

 

Michelle

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Absolutely, I would've called. We have a young man in our neighborhood that is troubled and on drugs. That is how he started out. He would jump fences and case different properties. Several neighbors saw him but didn't report it. Then, the crime spree began. He has been arrested for several thefts including the robbery of our local Dunkin Donuts. This probably was not his first time and the reporting of his crime may be helpful if there are future occurrences.

 

I am glad to hear you all are safe.

 

Blessings,

 

Lisa

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For something like you described, I wouldn't have called 911. I would have called dh. But our situation is a bit unique. We don't have normal law enforcement up here. The closest S.O. to us is over an hour away. If I had called 911, 911 would have called dh's agency and asked for assistance. So for me I'd have bypassed the middleman.

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Thank you for all the stories.

 

I am glad to know that some of you wouldn't have worried. I am really happy to know that our experience with the police back in AZ was unusual.

 

There are definitely some good things about living in this part of California. Responsive and well trained police officers!

 

And if there ever is a next time that I am frightened, I will call first and worry about it being a true emergency later.

 

Thank you, ladies!

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Well, my first time calling 911 was to report a cat locked in a hot car.. which turned out to be a stuffed animal! paperbag.gif just for your general info, even if you call on a cell phone, the police can call you back, lol (they weren't irritated, just letting me know so I wouldn't worry).

 

In my defense, I will say that it was a very lifelike stuffed animal, and it was kind of sprawled across the dashboard and looked an awful lot like a dead/near-dead cat, lol.

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I would have called the non-emergency number (our town only has TWO lines into the 911 bank). I have it programmed into my cell phone.

 

I'm not afraid to call - we've had trespassing issues and other stuff.

 

And hey, you might want to take hte time to drop the police chief a note telling him how the experience was. I did last year and our chief was very thankful to hear the GOOD about his officers!

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I would have called 911. We once had a man being actively chased by the cops try our back door handle to see if it was unlocked before knocking (uh, I didn't answer) and the preceding to check out spots in hide in our car and shed. I did not know they were after him until I saw the cops out the front door while I was picking up the phone to call 911. And this WAS in a "safe" town.

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My niece is a 911 dispatcher. 911 is for life or death situations only. She's on a rotation schedule. Every 4 months she rotates from morning, to afternoon, to graveyard shift. She says she hates working graveyard shift because she receives more 911 calls from little old ladies complaining that the neighbors dogs are barking and keeping them awake. Or people will call to complain that their neighbors are playing there music to loud. If you have complaints like these call your local police number instead of the police.

 

Blessings

 

Zoraida

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If that had happened here I would have called 911. Not only did he destroy part of the fence, he trespassed on your property and was acting extremely suspicious.

 

My husband is a fire fighter and you would be amazed at how many people die because they would prefer to drive themselves to the hospital (or worse, the doctor's office) than call 911. Even if it is a false alarm (medical or otherwise) that's what those folks are there for.

 

I was in the doctor's office once when a man dropped dead right in the waiting room...heart attack. He'd had symptoms for days and finally decided that he'd drive himself to the doctor. That was a traumatic day.

 

Ria

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The only time I called 911 I was in college, living in a townhouse off-campus. My roommate and I were woken in the middle of the night by a loud, pounding on our front door, sort of a methodical bang - bang - bang, not a usual sounding friendly knock. We couldn't see who it was from the upstairs bedroom and neither of us were about to go downstairs. We called 911 and stayed on the line until police arrived. While we waited we saw someone ride away on a bike. When the police arrived they basically took a statement and that was the end of it because we never got a look at the guy and he hadn't actually done anything.

 

Turned out it was a friend of ours who was drunk and was stopping by on his way home.

 

Not nearly as exciting as your story.

 

I don't know if I would have called 911 in your circumstance, because it doesn't sound like he was threatening you in any way.

 

We did one time have police searching for criminals around our house and our neighbors' houses. There were a couple of serial shoplifters who had been spotted in shops a couple of blocks from us. The police searched our property and the sheds behind our house. They never found anyone.

 

Glad you guys are all right.

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My best friend is a 911 dispatcher and I can tell you with assurance that she would have definitely told you to call! Even though he wasn't threatening, the mere fact that he broke through your fence would have been enough to call.

 

If you knew the kind of calls she takes on a regular basis that are so far removed from anything even remotely close to an emergency, you would have seen that your situation would have been very worthy of that call, LOL. It's ridiculous the kind of calls the 911 dispatchers get. People never cease to amaze me - from one end of the spectrum to another.

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My niece is a 911 dispatcher. 911 is for life or death situations only. She's on a rotation schedule. Every 4 months she rotates from morning, to afternoon, to graveyard shift. She says she hates working graveyard shift because she receives more 911 calls from little old ladies complaining that the neighbors dogs are barking and keeping them awake. Or people will call to complain that their neighbors are playing there music to loud. If you have complaints like these call your local police number instead of the police.

 

Blessings

 

Zoraida

 

In our town, the only way to get in touch with the police is to call 911. I would have absolutly called in this case. I'm confused why you wouldn't?? Wasn't he destroying property??

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Let them decide whether or not to respond (odds are they will come out to make sure everything is ok). It is the job of the police/fire/paramedics to help us ...but they can not do their job if we do not CALL.

 

 

Just as an FYI, no matter what the call is about, they don't get to "decide" whether or not to come. They have to come check out the situation. Which is why if a toddler calls accidentally, the police still show up at your house.

 

For that reason, it's important to have a really good reason to call - because the police can't be tied up going to places for silly reasons when a real emergency comes up.

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