Worried about what's going on next door? A Listening Device could stop domestic violence in its tracks
Hearing noises through the wall is common if you live in a terraced house, flat or anywhere else with thin walls and adjoining neighbours. In most cases, crying babies and scraping chairs are little more than a slight inconvenience. But what do you do if you start hearing more worrying sounds? It could be a sign of domestic violence next door if you hear shouting, screaming, loud thuds and bangs.
When you hear such sounds, it puts you in a very difficult position. If someone is being hurt or in danger of being hurt, the responsible thing to do as a concerned citizen and neighbour is to call the police right away.
But what if you're wrong?
Many people would say that if you hear any sounds that suggest domestic violence, it's better to have the police come out for no reason than do nothing and risk the awful consequences. This is good advice if the sounds are causing you serious alarm and theres no doubt that the police are required. However, it is easily possible that you've dramatically misinterpreted a sound you've heard, particularly if it only happens once.
A shout followed by a thud could be domestic abuse or someone injuring themselves by standing on an upturned plug and kicking it against the wall in anger. Calling the police following such a noise could exacerbate a difficult situation and cause problems between you and your neighbour.
Its easy to freeze
Many people simply freeze when they hear worrying sounds that could suggest domestic violence. They dont know what to do for the best, so they delay action or do nothing, and many may regret it later. This reaction isn't usually due to a lack of compassion or concern. Instead, many people are shocked by what they hear and have had no previous experience they can draw on that would help them decide what course of action to take.
They may doubt their own judgement about the cause of the noises they're hearing or worry about their safety if they report the matter to the police. If the police arrive after a report, it'll be pretty obvious that a close neighbour reported it, and it's only natural to worry that there will be repercussions from the people or persons making the noises whether or not it does turn out to be domestic violence. On top of all these reasons, theres also a British sense of minding your own and not butting into someone elses business to contend with in these situations.
Why a Listening Device could be a good idea
If you've heard a few sounds related to domestic violence and you want to play your part as a concerned citizen, possibly preventing further abuse, or you simply want to ease your mind that the sounds are harmless, a listening device could be very useful. These devices are essentially a high-tech version of the glass held against the wall but with far more detail, sensitivity and sound quality. They detect vibrations in even very thick solid walls and convert them into sound, which you can listen to, and record as evidence should you need to.
Using this device, you should be able to identify sounds properly, hear conversations and arguments and make sense of what you've been hearing. You might think that using such a device is a nosy neighbour. Still, you wouldn't even consider it unless you had real concerns about the safety of those living next door, especially if children are involved. If it comes to preventing abuse and perhaps even saving lives, using such a device would be well worth it. If it turns out to be nothing, you know you've played your part. Whats more, no one ever has to know that you have been listening.
Not domestic violence? Thats a relief, but what will you do about your noisy neighbours?
If you find that the noises you've been hearing are harmless and unrelated to domestic violence, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You've acted as a responsible, concerned neighbour and investigated the situation. Your conscience is officially clear. But now what do you do about what is a case of noisy neighbours? Again, this is where your listening device can come in very handy. Theres a certain process to follow if you want excessive noise from your neighbours to stop, and it can involve dealing with the local council. The first step is to pop next door and ask your neighbours politely to try to keep the noise down if you feel comfortable doing so.
If you don't feel comfortable (if you're intimidated or frightened by the violent-sounding noises you've heard) or if they ignore your request and continue to bang, shout and play loud music, it's time to contact the authorities. However, many councils require evidence before taking real action on a noise complaint. Your local council may send letters to the property informing them that further action will be taken if they dont keep the noise down, but if this is ignored, evidence may be required to take further action.
If you can record the noise of your neighbours through the wall and keep a detailed noise diary, you can prove to your local authority just how bad the problem is and how it's affecting you. This should hopefully lead to a resolution and help you get extra value from your newly purchased listening device.