When to get involved?

domestic-violence-complete-lilFor the first time since moving to my neighbourhood five years ago I heard my neighbours fighting. As I walked my dog up our street I could hear shrieks and screams coming from a house just a few doors down from mine. All couples have disagreements, some more vocal than others but this didn’t sound like a simple disagreement. This was flat out screaming, wailing and shouting.
Which leads to the question “When should you get involved”? I considered knocking on their door and checking to see that things were not getting out of hand but there’s always the fear of appearing to be a neighbourhood busy-body or confronting a knife-wielding mad-man. I had a short chat with another neighbour shortly after and asked him if he had heard the shouting and screaming (he was outside washing his car) coming from the home across the street from his. He hadn’t but suggested I call the police and let them handle it. Could it be ‘too late’ by the time they arrive? Is it the right thing to do and will it have a lasting effect on our neighbourly relationship? I don’t know these people very well and have only met them socially once (at another neighbours cocktail party) but they don’t appear to be typical matrimonial brawlers. But then again, who does?
I stood outside their home for a few minutes looking up at their window and the noise stopped. I continued walking up the street then turned back and checked again. Still all quiet. I walked home without knocking on their door or calling the police. I wonder if I did the right thing?

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