On Sat night, my wife and i sat down for a movie on the ol’ tele. At around 9pm, we heard a knock on the door. I don’t normally open the door since my dog goes ballastic when strangers arive. So I looked through the peep hole and saw a man standing at the door.
I said hello and asked him what was going on. He pointed across the street, said he was a new neighbor, and asked if I knew where “Lincoln Towing” was located. I said I did not. At this point he left.
I was pretty weirded out by such a random visit, while at the same time sad that we are not a culture/neighborhood that welcomes the random visit.
In my guilt I decided to step outside and talk to the gentleman further, possibly getting to know a real neighbor in need. I walked outside and saw him enter the gate of the house across the street. As I walked over, I saw him talking to the owner of the house across the street. As I approached, he kinda waved me off, like he didn’t want me to interupt his conversation. I went right over to their conversation and asked if he had found out the information he needed. The owner of the home looked rather uncomfortable and as soon as I engaged the inquiring man, he saw his chance to bail and promptly shut his door. I engaged with the man, first with him telling me he wasn’t from around here and didn’t know where the towing company was. I said, “wait, i thought you said you moved in around the corner?” He got a bit upset at being challenged. Then he told me the cross streets for the towing company and I said the #2 bus probably went decently close to the location. To this he said thanks and walked away.
Now, on the one hand I feel really guilty about assuming this guy was casing properities or up to no good. He was African-American and smelled of booze, but was I profiling this guy? On the other hand, given the rash of break-ins and general mischief around the CD, I thought I was appropriately cautious. I didn’t call the cops.
So how should I have reacted? Did I overreact? Did I act appropriately? Should I have called the cops?