With security cameras hidden on neighbors’ property, it can be difficult to keep your own life private. Whether placed intentionally or otherwise, cameras that cover any part of your property can feel like an invasion of privacy. Here’s how to disable and disrupt your neighbor’s security camera.
To block your neighbor’s security camera, you can strategically place objects in front of windows, add fence extensions, and install some bright lights. You can also ask them directly to change the angle. Or even ask the police and HOA if there is anything they can do. You might also consider installing reflective window film on that side of your home.
What are the best ways to prevent neighbors’ security cameras from viewing your private life?
Continue reading to learn some new tips and tricks to keep your life private from your neighbors.
1. Ask Your Neighbors to Move Their Cameras
While this may be a very controversial solution to this problem, it could easily be the quickest and cheapest solution to your problem. When speaking with your neighbor, try not to use accusing language.
Your tone can cause your neighbor to feel attacked and feel like they need to defend their cameras. It may even make them refuse to move them.
Instead, simply explain that you do not feel comfortable on your own property due to the location of the security cameras. Explaining the situation clearly and respectfully will most likely influence your neighbor to move the position of the cameras.
Most people are reasonable and understanding, and although they may have their home security as a high priority, they will hopefully understand the value of a good relationship with their neighbors.
This visit can also give you a measure of peace of mind if your neighbor shows you what the cameras are seeing. You might be surprised at how little of your property they actually capture.
Tip: If your neighbor listens to your requests and moves the camera locations, don’t forget to thank them. And maybe bring over some sort of treat. This can promote a positive and healthy relationship, showing that you weren’t accusing them of stalking you. And that you’re (still) neighbor friends.
Is Their Camera Real?
This is an important question to ask yourself. And be prepared for your neighbor to tell you this.
Lots of homeowners install cheap, realistic-looking security cameras that are 100% fake.
These fake security cameras by BNT look pretty legit. And they’ll serve as a pretty good deterrent to theft.
With a little research, you might be able to determine how real they are. And you can always confirm by asking your neighbor.
2. Fence Extensions
If reason fails to solve the problem, there is still a lot you can do to protect your privacy.
One of the most common ways to avoid having people see your property is by installing barriers that block the camera line of sight.
After all, you have control over what people might see on your property. One simple way to accomplish this is by installing fence extensions.
Fence extensions are exactly what they sound like; they raise the height of your fence in order to make it harder for people to see over them.
Depending on your neighbor’s camera angle, just a foot or so of the extension might do the trick to maintain your privacy.
Furthermore, fence extensions can block the vision of people that are passing by on the street. Normal fences aren’t meant to be the perfect source of privacy, but an extension can definitely upgrade that.
Fence extensions come in many varieties, depending on your fence. One of the most common ways to extend the height of your fence is by adding a trellis.
If your fence is made of wood, you can add it with just a hammer and a few nails. If your fence is made of vinyl, find a trellis of the same material to add to your fence.
You can buy a trellis-like these from local hardware stores or from fence companies. If you are confident in your construction skills, you can even build them yourself.
You might not even need to raise the height of the entire perimeter of your fence. You might achieve the privacy you are looking for by raising the height of just a few panels.
And you might only need to extend the height on just a section of your fence, maybe not the full perimeter of your property.
Here are some tasteful suggestions by Empress of Dirt.
3. Plant Trees and Other Barriers
Aside from fence extensions, there are other tools at your disposal that you can use to block a camera’s vision.
One of the most appealing options for homeowners is to add thick trees around the perimeter of your property.
Depending on the type of tree you get, you can make your barrier high enough for any camera. The trees can also add more appeal to your backyard.
In general, evergreen trees do a great job at blocking vision. They come in all shapes and sizes for your needs.
You might consider paying extra for larger trees. This will shorten the time needed for full privacy from creepy neighbors.
Just like fence extensions, you probably only have a few spots around your property that would be in need of a tree or some similar structure, so using these barriers can be less expensive than you might think.
After all, trees and plants aren’t your only option when it comes to blocking a camera’s line of sight.
Sheds, basketball hoops, and many other things can all be strategically placed to deny vision to a camera. Most of the time, the cameras are not specifically pointed at your house or your backyard, so you only need to block a small part of the camera’s view.
4. Moving Objects
Another way to confuse a neighbor’s camera is to put moving objects in the camera’s view. Most cameras that are used for security purposes are motion-activated, so they only turn on and record when someone (like a burglar) is trying to break into a house.
However, the camera will also turn on when you or your family members are moving around.
You can solve this problem by putting things like flags or other moving things within the camera’s view. The motion activation feature of the camera might not be able to distinguish a flag in the wind from a person. And this can result in hundreds of hours of footage with nothing happening.
The most likely thing that will happen is that your neighbor will have to turn off the motion sensor on their camera, keeping them from having as much access to the video footage of your movements.
Though this is not a permanent fix, it is easier to do than most of the other solutions.
5. Reflective Film
One of the weaknesses of security cameras is reflective film. This film is most useful in protecting the interior of your home from prying eyes and invasive cameras.
If placed over windows, the reflective film will inhibit the camera’s ability to see into the house just like a 1-way mirror.
The film is easily installed and will do its job well.
With the sun shining on your windows, people that pass by will be unable to see through the reflective film and cameras will be stopped short.
This one-way reflective film applies easily and doesn’t require any glue.
Window Film Installation Tips
Last month, Dena and I installed this on two windows and it applies very easily.
Just make sure to remove any (all) residue before application. I was a little lazy, and a little residue is visible – showing small bumps under the film.
A few bumps aren’t a big deal. But they are easily removed with a razor blade scraper.
Note: this strategy will only work well during the day, as the darkness of night will make your windows transparent again, as most of the light will be coming from within the house instead of without.
For the nighttime, you will need another strategy to confound cameras.
6. Bright Lights (at Night)
Bright lights are one of the best defenses that you can use at night. A floodlight can keep your neighbor’s cameras from seeing anything on your property.
This is because of how security cameras see light.
If a strong light shines on the lens of a security camera, it will be unable to focus beyond/around the floodlight. While your presence might be seen, your face and activities won’t be.
According to Brinks Home, a “powerful LED flashlight can disable a security camera without ever requiring the crook to be on camera”.
You can take advantage of this by installing floodlights on the outside of your house. Once they are installed, angle them towards the offending cameras and set them on a schedule to turn on during the night.
Now your neighbor’s cameras will be blind and you can enjoy your privacy.
You might consider some motion-sensor lights that only come on when you’re outside. That way you don’t have to pay for bright lights all night – and your outside activity will be obscured by the intrusive cameras.
These lights will not do the same job during the day, unfortunately. The light from the sun will temper any light that you can shine, so everything but the light itself will be visible.
Consider a combination of lights and the reflective film to make your house and your property safe from cameras.
Want to set up your own security cameras? Here’s how to hide your security camera from plain sight.
7. Talk to the Police
While you are dealing with a situation like this, it is important to know where the law stands on the matter.
The law defends your privacy in areas where privacy is to be expected.
Can my neighbor legally film my property?
If your neighbor has cameras pointed at your house that can see through windows or doors, they might be violating privacy laws.
However, if their security cameras have a broad aim that captures your front yard or other outside locations, they are probably within the law that allows them to protect their home.
Laws vary across municipalities, states, provinces, and countries. Make sure to check the laws for your region. You might also want to check with a lawyer knowledgeable on this topic.
Even if the cameras are placed in locations that are permissible, your neighbors may only use the footage for responsible purposes, like home defense.
When you talk to them, if they are determined to keep a perimeter of video footage, you can at the very least ensure that the videos are only used for security.
Whether or not your neighbors are within the law, having cameras pointed at your house can still cause anxiety and make you feel uncomfortable.
For most people, the freedom of privacy is of great value. Thankfully, there are still many things that you can do to resolve the problem.
8. Talk to the Neighborhood Home Owners Association (HOA)
Depending on the rules of your local Home Owners Association, you might be able to apply a little bit of pressure on your neighbors. While most HOA groups allow cameras for the purposes of security, these organizations exist in order to protect and enhance a community.
If your neighbor’s cameras are invading your privacy, you might be able to make a case to the Homeowners Association that your neighbor’s cameras should be taken down (or at least angled away from your property).
Unfortunately, if your neighbors didn’t listen to your complaints it is doubtful that they would listen to the Homeowners Association. After all, participation in such organizations is completely up to the individual homeowners.
The association can bar a person’s access to certain local amenities (like a neighborhood pool that the HOA operates), but they have control over little else.
You will probably need to explore other options for privacy protection.
Four Things Not to Do
Though your neighbor’s cameras can be frustrating and invasive, and though their stubborn manners may be infuriating, you should avoid letting this disagreement cause a problem between you two.
Resentment between neighbors can quickly escalate and cause long-term harm.
Do everything you can to be cordial and polite with your neighbor, and don’t be accusatory.
More reading: How to Format Your SD Card (5 Ways)
1. Don’t Trespass
While you do what you can to protect your own privacy and your own peace of mind, do not cross the line towards property damage or trespassing.
2. Don’t Use a Laser
For example, you might be tempted to damage your neighbor’s cameras with a laser. Shining a strong laser onto the camera lens can cause permanent damage to the camera.
While this would work for a short amount of time, the camera can always be replaced and the damage that you did to your neighbor’s property can be the basis for a lawsuit. The last thing you’ll want to do is be forced to replace your neighbor’s camera – so he can go back to filming you again.
3. Don’t Cut Wires
The same goes for things like cutting wires or causing other damage to the security system. Such actions are illegal and could get you in serious trouble with the law.
Remember that your rights extend to privacy while inside of your own home, and not while outside of it as you cannot expect perfect privacy while in the park or on the street.
4. Don’t Peanut Butter the Lens
You must be cautious while you try to secure your privacy. Even simple things like putting peanut butter over the camera lens can get you in trouble for trespassing and tampering with another person’s property.
While you have jurisdiction over your own backyard, you do not have jurisdiction over your neighbor’s yard. In all cases, stay within your rights.
More camera skills: How to Hide a Trail Camera from Humans (7 Tips to Prevent Theft)
Keeping Your Life Private
Though you may be troubled by the presence of security cameras, such cameras offer security to you as well. There have been many cases where a burglar or a porch pirate has had their identity revealed by the neighbor’s security camera system. Cameras offer security to law-abiding citizens.
And while you are constantly being recorded in public, you’re entitled to privacy in your own home.
As long as you stay within the law, there are many things you can do to ensure that privacy and ensure the privacy of your family.
Have a tip or suggestion? How did you block your neighbor’s security camera? Join me below!
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is co-founder and blogger on ClickLikeThis. We cover action cameras and outdoor photography with a focus on GoPro cameras.
He is a travel blogger at Storyteller.Travel and co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.