Police response to domestic violence complaints are a subject that has to be raised in the wake of the rescue of the Cleveland kidnap victims.
The BBC is reporting that several neighbors say that they had complained to the police about domestic disturbances, but that the Cleveland police department failed to take the complaints seriously:
Elsie Cintron told the BBC her granddaughter had seen a naked woman crawling in the backyard last year and called police, but they did not take it seriously.
Another resident, Israel Lugo, said that in November 2011 he heard pounding on doors of the house and his sister saw a girl at the house holding a baby and crying for help.
He said he had called police and officers knocked several times on the front door, but left when no-one answered.
The reports were disputed by Police Chief McGrath.
This would not be the first time that a police department failed to take domestic disturbance complaints seriously. Domestic violence is often seen as a private matter, and police are leery of the high risk of injury that can come from walking into an emotionally charged situation. Half-hearted attempts to "contact" residents, like what is reported by Lugo, are all too common.
It is still early days in this investigation, and more facts will emerge. So far, the stories that are emerging are not painting a complimentary story about the level of importance that the Cleveland police place on curbing domestic violence.
UPDATE, 12 May 2013:
The Washington Post reported on the previous allegations along with another time that Cleveland police were alerted about a problem at the Castro house:
...Israel Lugo says, a group of elderly women who were exercising in the area called police. According to Lugo, the women and his sister had all seen a naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck in Castro’s back yard. Cleveland police say they have no record of the calls.