A reader has had some unpleasant encounters with a neighbor who yelled at her and kicked her fence, making her feel threatened. Has this neighbor committed a crime? Can she file a complaint? Get a restraining order?

Without more specific details it is difficult to determine whether a crime has been committed. If there was a specific threat, or the neighbor brandished some sort of weapon … there could have been an offense. If she felt threatened, calling the police is a good idea. Even if they decide there was no crime, they can get it on record. The police can also make suggestions based on the details of her report. She can go straight to the District Attorney’s office to file a complaint, or find out about protective orders. There are different departments — for example, if you are dealing with family violence or abuse, there are specific offices within the DA’s office. She could also contact an attorney to find out about other legal alternatives such as restraining orders. Bottom line, if someone feels threatened, they can always — and should — call us. Helpful contacts are: Dallas County District Attorney main office, 214.653.3600; Protective Orders office, 214.653.5905; Victim/Witness office, 214.653.3600; website, dallascounty.org.


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