Posted: 8:04 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Mom and dad out of town: When do neighbors poke their nose into teen parties? 

By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

So apparently our new neighbors have been out of town because there have been some rather loud parties going on at their house over the weekend.

Friday night we returned home to cars parked all the way around the cul-de-sac and up the street. We could hear music and voices echoing on the deck but couldn’t tell which house it was coming from. The same thing happened the next night as well. This time there were more cars parked in the driveway so we figured out who was hosting.

I briefly met the parents and was introduced to a college-age son and high-school age son. Based on bumper stickers I think it was the college son’s parties. They were loud but not out of control and we decided that the next-door neighbors would intervene if they felt things were out of hand. We figured they knew the family much better than we did.

So my question is: If you knew the parents were out of town, would you intervene if their teens/college kids were throwing a party? At what point would you intervene: Loud voices, loud music, breaking things, apparently underage? When you walk over and tell them to reign in it or would you? Or would you be more inclined to call the police instead of personally intervening? 

25 comments
DBOrig
DBOrig

I called the police on a next-door neighbor-kid's party.  The parents were out of town, the kid had been arrested twice for underage DUI, and had lost a job due to failing a surprise drug test, so let's face it, he's not exactly inspiring confidence.  So of course he decides to have a party.  I didn't let it bother me until after midnight, but at 1 pm, the music was literally rattling the windows on that side of the house (they had set up the sound system outside).  So I called the police and asked them to stop by and remind them about the noise ordinance.  Five minutes later, two police cruisers park down the street (there were probably 20 cars on the street) and I watched with amusement as a couple of partyers started to leave, saw the police, and then doubled back quickly.  Suddenly, the party was a hive of activity, including a group of kids dashing into the garage frantically stuffing "something" into tool boxes.  The police were cool -- just asked them to turn off the music -- but from my vantage point, it was funny to watch partyers jumping the fence at the back of the property in the dark, as well as sneaking around the other side of the house from the police and high-tailing it down the street to their car. :-)  


Not my circus, not my monkeys.  I just wanted to get some sleep. 

Hulga
Hulga

These guys are going to find out who you are ... and then eventually find this blog ... and they are going to run you and your family back to New Mexico or wherever you came from.  Please take motherjanegoose with you.  Thank you.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

It is not against the law to throw a party.  However, if there is obviously underage drinking, property damage, sex, trespassing, illegal parking, or noise violation, I call the police.  A neighbor showing up at the door is much less effective than a uniformed, armed police officer.  Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the music.

Motheroftwins
Motheroftwins

the only time I intervene is when I have been asked to do so by the neighbors who are going on vacation.  I had a neighbor years ago who had a son who routinely hosted large parties at the house.  The parents never asked me to intervene, so I never did.  However, another neighbor was a surgeon and frequently went over to ask the kids to either quiet down or take it inside if he was due to perform surgery in the early morning.  The kids always complied.  We knew that the teen would eventually graduate and we had a very nice relationship with our neighbors.




RealKat
RealKat

I agree with those who said you're the new person on the block. My guess is that if this type of party has happened before, and the police show up, they'll know who phoned it in. You can't be everyone's parent. When the parents get back in town, act surprised that they are back because you thought they had just hosted a party the other night. If you don't keep to yourself on this, payback can be an awful thing.

Chris30338
Chris30338

I would go over an warn them to reign it in if it stayed loud after 10:00 PM on a weekday and 12:00 on a weekend. If things didn't simmer down, I'd then call the cops. If I were leaving my school age kid alone at home with an elder sibling, I would not allow unsupervised parties and would ask my neighbors to keep a lookout and call the cops if they heard a party going on in my house. My kids would also be made aware of that. I'm not having some underage kid unsupervised in my home and then breaking into the alcohol cabinet, getting drunk and killing himself/herself or someone else on the way home. Not happening in MY house. When my kids grow up, move out and rent their own pad, they can have all the parties they want.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Intervene when noise levels exceed comfortable levels after 10 PM.  Say, "Hey guys, can you turn it down? I'm trying to sleep here." 


And if they don't turn it down, let the cops handle it. 

BrowningGlory
BrowningGlory

Noise and number of people are not the perfect indicators of a party gone out of control. My neighbors have a daughter that is smart, polite, and very quiet - she is the sweetest young lady. A little over a year ago while in college she would come home over the breaks and have small gatherings while mom & dad were out of town. Never in a million years would we have guessed there were major drug deals and heavy usage going down in that house that involved her. The police were called out one late evening and that was last party she ever hosted. A body bag came out of that house and was loaded into an unmarked van, and the police arrested the daughter and about 4 others on extensive drug related charges.

Shocked is an understatement of how the entire street felt after that. We never knew that such a sweet young lady would be involved in such bad stuff. No loud noises, no crowds of people, no property damage - just a deceased young male was the first and last sign of trouble. Today the daughter is said to be in and out of rehab, a college dropout, and we rarely see the parents. Would not surprise me if the house goes on the market soon, we thought it would happen this summer but it didn't.

Annoyme
Annoyme

In this case there seems to be no harm so let it go. If you have further concern or it becomes a regular nuisance you may want to check with other neighbors and address as a group. Is there a Home Owners Association? College and high school kids have parties - good for them.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

You are new and that IMHO makes things different. Friends in our neighborhood ( do not live close) had a daughter who posted a small party to friends about 6 years ago. . The parents were out of state. The thing snowballed into over 50 kids showing up. They were in the parents bedroom and stole family heirlooms ( never found). Someone called the police who arrived to find the daughter in tears. She did not know what to do. The parents were called and they hopped a flight home to find a giant mess. We always told our neighbors to call us ASAP if they smelled anything fishy. Told our kids too. Never had a problem and that is behind us now. I would rather be safe than sorry but unsure if you are in a well healed neighborhood , what to do as you could get yourself in trouble with parents who are clueless. Good luck.

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

You have to be one of the most uptight humans ever.

You have to remember, if you make a big deal out of this, you are likely to become the outcast and when your children have these sorts of parties.......Well, expect retaliation.

Until your property is damaged, or life in interupted, let it go......Same advice for all the other end ot the world scenarios you share with us.

NewName
NewName

You're the new kid on the block and this is that time period where you're learning the culture of the neighborhood.


Don't be that neighbor. Let someone else do it. This may be perfectly acceptable on your street/in your neighborhood/new town and you just don't know it yet. You do not want this to be your introduction to the neighborhood if you overreact. If it's out of the norm someone else WILL call it in, go over there an handle it, etc. 

TechMom1
TechMom1

As the mom of a teenager who regularly has lots of friends over, my opinion is to mind your own business if it's kept inside/in the backyard. If you do encounter an issue, PLEASE go knock on the door and give a verbal warning before calling the cops. Calling the police should not be the first step. I know that's probably not a popular answer because people will have a horror story response about their "1 neighbor who did this 1 awful thing this 1 time" but I just don't think every nuisance should involve police. It will most certainly not make you the most popular new neighbor. Plus most teenagers who don't want to get caught will be scared enough by the knock on the door.  


We had new neighbors move in about 2 years ago. Within the first two months, the cops showed up at our house twice for noise complaints. The first time was 6 boys sitting in our driveway hanging out (son was a senior in HS and they had a senior skip day the next day- it was 9:15pm), We were sitting inside the house and could not hear them. The 2nd time they were in the backyard and the police officer apologized for showing up! 


All it's done is create a hostile relationship with our neighbors. I have vowed not to stoop to their level but every time they have a dozen people over, I am seriously tempted to call the police on a noise complaint just to 'repay the favor'.

TnTsMom
TnTsMom

Unless they are violating some noise ordinance and I can safely sit in my home without hearing the party, I say leave alone. Even with my neighbors I consider friends, i do not intervene.  However, if I saw heavy drinking outside and attempts to drink and drive, then I would call the parents and maybe the police.


However, for these neighbor/friends I would mention it in passing after the fact. as in "Gee there was some fun going on at your house the other night."  They may have even been home and respond, " yes, we did have fun with ..... "


Or they may not have been home, and have not known about the party and may not have cared, but they may have told the kids not to have anyone over.


I would want to know if my high schooler had a bunch of friends over and I was not home. My son is generally not allowed to have friends over if we are not home, with a few exceptions.


Once when my oldest was in HS, my husband and I went out of town for the weekend. He wanted his friend to come over, but knew that if a car was parked at our house that was not his, several of our neighbors would have called me.  So he went and picked up his friend in his truck and had her hide while driving by the neighbors and snuck her in the house.  We did eventually find out.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

At what point would you intervene: Loud voices -  NO

Loud music - Depends on how loud and vulgar

Breaking things - Depends on whose stuff they are breaking

Apparently underage - Probably

When you walk over and tell them to reign in it or would you? Again - depends on the answers to the above

Or would you be more inclined to call the police instead of personally intervening? Depends on what happened when I went over and asked them to reign it in...


Wascatlady
Wascatlady

If I am concerned about any goings-on, I call the police.  Let them sort it out.  If it is just a party, and no gunfire, screaming,  music to shake the windows, or my access blocked, I am okay.

usedtobejct
usedtobejct

The only way I would intervene is if the party spilled loudly into the street that could create chaos and/or danger.  By intervene I mean call the police.   Otherwise, I would mind my own business.

Menace
Menace

Neighbors used to be lined up when my parents returned from vacation.

Chris30338
Chris30338

@MostlySunny If you have kids living at home, do not allow them to have friends over unsupervised, even if they are over 18. All it takes is one bad apple among their friends for things to go south FAST. If they want friends over unsupervised, they can rent their own place and have all the friends they want over.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

About 20 years ago ( previous neighborhood ) we had neighbors who were very private. They never mixed but had company at odd hours. Eventually there was an undercover cop

on our block for days and a drug bust went down. The house did go into foreclosure. We had friends who also had this happen right next door. Minding your own business is not always the best measure IMHO. Our neighbors fussed at our son when he was driving too fast. They called me to tell me. He was 16 and I thanked them. We simply look out for each other !

Chris30338
Chris30338

@Rory_Bellows My kids won't be allowed unsupervised parties or friends over, PERIOD. SO no fear of retaliation. And I would let my neighbors know that I don't allow unsupervised parties in my home. If we are away and they think my kids are having a party, they would be well advised to call the cops. Hope the cops take them in because my kids wouldn't want to deal with me once I got back. I've heard of too many date rapes, drunk driving incidents and kids getting killed or killing someone else due to alcohol at these parties. They can party all they want when they rent their own places.

Lord Humungus
Lord Humungus

Very uptight indeed and probably never partied at UGA which is the only that school does well

Chris30338
Chris30338

@TechMom1 I agree. If the parents are at home, calling the cops is ridiculous when kids are just hanging out.

motherjanegoose1
motherjanegoose1

Glad some people do not. I am past this stuff now but appreciated those who kept an eye out for things that looked odd.