DEAR HARRIETTE: I frequently hear my friend who lives in the apartment next door fighting with her boyfriend. I have seen them physically fight in the hallway through my peephole, and it is typically her who instigates this. Do I intervene in these fights? I don’t want to get them both in trouble with the law, but I am concerned for their joint safety. This relationship is dangerous for the two of them. -- Neighborly Aggression, Philadelphia
DEAR NEIGHBORLY AGGRESSION: You do not have the ability to break up a fight between your neighbors, so you should not put yourself in the middle of it. This will only make you unsafe, too. As tough as this may seem, you should call the police if you believe they are about to hurt themselves, or if they are in the midst of hurting each other.
Yes, this could lead to an awkward moment between you and your neighbor, but it is likely that you can report their behavior anonymously. You may even want to go out for a while when you report the behavior so that you are not there when the police arrive. It surely may be worth it to them for you to speak up. You would feel horrible if one of them were seriously injured or killed when you may have been able to prevent it.