"Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino!” - Ned Flanders, The Simpsons
So, you noticed your neighbor has security cameras pointed at your property, and you probably feel that this is some kind of breach of privacy. Someone has to do something about it, and it’s either you or him.
Before you resort to drastic measures you’d probably regret, you need to know that CCTV security cameras are shrouded in complex legal issues and regulations. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, and blinding the neighbor’s camera could get you in serious lawsuit trouble.
So, how do we solve this problem? Do we immediately turn to our attorneys, or do we break out the laser pointers?
In this SpyGuy guide, we’ll walk you through the CCTV legality and regulations, practical tips, and advice on how to solve this annoying, intrusive problem.
Is It Legal for Neighbors to Spy on You (To Point Security Cameras at Your Property)?
The short and dull answer is ‘yes’. Your neighbor can point a security camera at your property and yard. But, only in the following scenarios and conditions.
Essentially, the legality of having your property being monitored by your neighbor's security camera entirely depends on three things: why, how, and what. Simply put, why he has the camera pointed directly at your property, how it’s being used, and what your neighbor is doing with the footage.
Either way, you’re free to press charges and start lawsuits, but that could really burn a hole in your pocket and burn a hole in your neighborly relationship. So, this should be only considered as a last resort.
If you want to thoroughly read about the legality of surveillance cameras, please read our detailed SpyGuy guide[a]. You can also read about the use of cameras in residential areas, written by a principal analyst.
Your neighbor is allowed to have surveillance cameras pointed at your property if:
Your Neighbor’s Security Cameras Cover a Broad Area
Your neighbor, like yourself, is a property owner. Both of you are entitled to protect your property with security cameras to thwart and scare off burglars.
If your neighbor’s security camera happens to record your yard, front door, and driveway, which are also visible from public areas, you can’t press charges. This is because you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
The Footage of Your Neighbor's Security Cameras Is in Legal and Fair Use
It’s very important to consider how your neighbor handles his security camera footage. You can’t claim harassment if the footage is handled correctly and lawfully.
As long as your neighbor’s security cams don't infringe on your privacy, it’s all good. The footage must be for lawful purposes only, for instance, prevention of package thefts, or preventing vandalism.
If you feel that someone might damage, steal, or key your parked vehicle, you can find easy solutions in our car vandalism blog post.
The bottom line is that it’s completely legal for your neighbor to point a security camera at your property if it’s in plain view and visible from the streets, but there are some further nuances to elaborate on. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do about it if your privacy is encroached upon.
What to Do If Your Neighbor Has Security Cameras Pointed at Your House?
If you’re feeling harassed, or the camera feels too nerve-racking, don’t worry. Instead of turning to illegal ways to jam your neighbor’s surveillance cameras, hear us out first.
Jamming, disrupting, or damaging the cameras will make matters worse. Additionally, a lot of companies that claim they have products that can do these disruptions are scams. So, don’t take the advice you googled on forums. We did the research, and the consensus is that any other method is better than tampering, disabling, or damaging your neighbor’s security camera.
Talk to Your Neighbor
A kind word opens steel doors. The first thing you should do is communicate.
You should always present your manners and talk to your neighbor about the issue of his cameras pointing at your property.
Be sure to properly communicate how you feel about the security camera pointed at your house. There’s always a chance they’re unaware or it’s just a coincidence.
Politely ask them to adjust the angle, or change the direction of the cameras.
Do’s: Five Ways to Block Your Neighbor’s Security Cameras
Here’s the list of things you can do to solve your not-so-neighborly problem. You should always remember that it's NOT the security camera that’s spying on you. It's the owner who installed the security cameras.
As we mentioned before, he may not be aware of the fact that his cameras are pointing at your house, so you should always communicate first. If that doesn’t work out...
1. Have Security Cameras Legally Installed in Your Property
You may think that fighting fire with fire in this situation is dumb and irrelevant. Hear us out.
There’s no better way to make your neighbors change their minds on this annoying security policy. Serving them a taste of their own medicine might just do the trick.
You are legally allowed to install a lawfully placed security camera in your own property, and there’s nothing your neighbor can do about it.
Mounting a Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) security cam has its own advantages, and your neighbor will doubt his actions as well. If their intentions are truly hostile, and you can’t reason with them, then having your own camera watching them will definitely solve your problem.
This is what we at SpyGuy call ‘surveillance tactics’. It’s like some sort of modern-day psychological warfare, only far less hostile. For a more covert approach, we recommend you browse our SpyGuy catalog if you are looking to plant cameras with a hidden purpose.
2. Be Sure to Check If the Security Camera Is Fake
We should have pointed this out first. Before you do anything, make sure that the neighbor’s camera is not fake. There’s also a slight chance that it’s turned off, so be wary of that too.
Using fake cameras is one of the best ways to thwart and scare away burglars. It serves as a deterrent and it’s a very cost-effective and smart method of protecting your property.
You could also check whether it’s fake via some of our products. We, at SpyGuy, offer you a cost-effective and easy way to check the workings of security cameras. Our Bug Detectors Catalog boasts multiple products you can use, and we strongly recommend the LM-8 Bug Detector which can reveal hidden cameras as well. Additionally, it detects audio bugs too.
If you feel that your new apartment or Airbnb place is rigged with cameras or audio devices, or you’d like to read more about bug detection, check out our bug detection guide.
3. Seek Help From a Third Party or Mediators
This is an important step if you want to avoid any drastic measures. Dealing with unreasonable neighbors can be very draining.
If you think your words fall on deaf ears, simply seek help from mediators.
You can find mediators in your local community service or neighborhood mediation centers. Simply explain your situation and they’ll get right on it. The friendly people there are constantly bombarded with the same issues regarding neighbors and security cams, so they’ll know exactly what to do.
They usually organize mediated meetings between neighbors and serve as a third party to disputes so both sides can settle any issues of note, such as negligently pointed security cameras.
4. Contacting Your Lawyer or Police
While some of you may have miscommunications and small feuds, others deal with greater problems. There are some neighbors that just keep crossing the line, and there seems to be no end to their unmannerly behavior.
If you have neighbors that deliberately point the cameras at your bedrooms or private rooms, report them to the authorities.
Voyeurism is not to be tolerated and we strongly believe that you have the absolute obligation to mention this to the police. Seeking advice from law enforcement officers or consulting your attorney is in your best interest.
Additionally, you can ask of them to check the neighbor’s camera angle and if clear footage of your bedroom is visible, your neighbor is in big trouble. We mentioned the ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’; it plays a very important part in the legality of using security cameras.
If you’re misfortunate enough to have downright nasty neighbors, maybe taking matters into your hands is a good idea.
We might have a spy product for you at SpyGuy which can help you solve your problem - a vast catalog of wearable cameras and audio recorders where you’ll be able to record and present valuable evidence of harassment.
5. Blocking the Camera’s View With Grown Trees and Shrubs
This is an absolutely beautiful method you’ll love. It’s cost-effective, looks lovely, and it’s extremely passive-aggressive. It requires no communication but speaks volumes.
The idea is to plant tall shrubs or grown trees to cover your windows and private rooms where the neighbor’s camera is pointing. Using a shade or curtains is good too, but we’re environmentally friendly folks and we like to think differently.
We recommend buying ready-grown trees tall enough to protect your privacy. Use shrubs on lower levels to disrupt intrusive cameras and you’re good to go.
No need to cover places that are “of no interest” to the surveillance camera. Keep in mind that you’re doing your neighbor a favor of presenting him with a very green screen to calm his nerves.
Methods of Blinding Security Cameras We Do Not Recommend
You’re wasting your time if you’re still browsing "how can I blind a security camera?" in the security forums.
There are a lot of misleading tips and questionable advice that will most likely get you in serious trouble with the law for messing with your neighbor’s cameras.
We’ll cover the most frequently asked questions that we’ve seen regarding security cameras below.
How Can I Blind Security Cameras With LEDs?
You can use a flashlight or a LED hat to disable your neighbor’s security camera. But, it’s way more complicated than that.
It’s important to shine the light directly into the camera lens. Even if you did manage that, you’d have to hold the infrared beam for a really long time.
How Can I Blind Security Cameras With a Laser Pointer?
Using a laser pointer or infrared laser to block your neighbor’s CCTV cam could seriously damage it.
There is no possible way not to be seen by the camera while you’re attempting this. Avoid this method at all costs.
How Can I Block Security Cameras With a Jammer?
This may sound like a good idea, but you will need to know the exact camera broadcast frequency, not to mention use the right spy equipment.
We have a wide variety of bug detection products to help you out with your security issues. We should also add that using signal jammers is illegal in the US. Before you ask yourself how do I block my neighbor’s security camera, be sure to check out our products.
How Can I Hack CCTV Security Cameras?
This is a long shot. Hacking into a security camera is easy if you hire a professional. He can get the job done, but it’s you who’ll face the music.
It’s almost close to a felony. Hacking any system without the neighbor knowing will surely get you in trouble.
Is It Legal to Cut Cables of Surveillance Cameras?
This is blatantly obvious. Cutting the surveillance cameras’ cables is regarded as ‘malicious destruction of property’.
It’s not ordinary jamming or tampering with a wired CCTV cam, it’s dangerous and almost impossible to pull off.
Is It Legal to Blind Security Cameras With Spray Paint?
This is indeed the least practical method to block CCTV security cameras! Before you blind a security camera with spray paint, butter, or other stuff, you will have triggered the motion detection.
To sum this up, the latter of the methods presented above are just ways that people use to get themselves in trouble.
We have a duty as civil citizens to talk about these problems before we do anything else. Above all, being a good neighbor inspires others and sets a good example.
Practicing unreasonable methods of jamming, disabling, disrupting, or destroying your neighbor’s security camera might probably work for you, but it almost always leads to a worse situation.
We strongly advise you to get informed and read all about the legal issues and regulations regarding security systems. Feel free to contact us for any hidden security camera questions and other information.
If you have creative and lawful ideas to prevent unwanted cameras pointing at our properties, please feel free to share them with us!