Perimeter security for a young family.
September 20, 2010 7:46 AM   Subscribe

I have a nightmarish neighbor. This particular question is about security cameras.

In an abberation from my normal formula, I will ask the TL;DR part first:

I need 2-4, outdoor mountable, NETWORK attached cameras. Wired is fine. I'd take more, but that's the minimum I need for coverage. I also need software that will record when motion is detected, and will save locally and remotely upload to FTP or S3. Ebay is fine, we are very low on budget. I will install myself. IR/night illumination would be nice.

Back Story:
We bought this house in November. First rattle out of the box, we went and introduced ourselves to all of our neighbors. One of our next door neighbors is an 80+ year old man, who basically just turned and walked away from me when I walked to my fence to introduce myself. I assumed he didn't hear me. I tried 4 more times. Each time, he'd see me, turn, and walk away.

No problem, right? We don't have to be buddies.

Well, since then, he's basically declared war. He's called the police no less than 5 times (no citations issued, ever. No cause, the police don't even talk to us.) He's called code enforcement in excess of 40 times, again, no citations or warnings. They have asked him to back off, that's when he started calling police. He has threatened the code enforcement people that he will call the health department and city council if they don't ticket me. Let me repeat, there are no ticketable offenses.

He has screamed at my [pregnant] fiancee because she was too close to the fence , he has tried to hit my dogs in my back yard. He is known in the neighborhood to call the police about 5 times a week, every single week, and has for at least the last 10 years or so. Nobody is ever ticketed.

This saturday that just passed, we installed 6 foot high (highest allowed by the city) privacy fence all around our property on his side of our house. Building permit was obtained, survey done, etc. We're in the clear. Anyway---after it was done, some of our other neighbors came over and were talking to us about him. They have lived in that home for 25+ years, he has apparently been there for 50+ years, it is his family home.

Apparently, several dogs have suspiciously died. Several dogs have wound up locked in his garage. Random hoagie buns full of peanut butter have appeared in back yards. Small children have been screamed at. All in all, it's bad. Everybody in our neighborhood avoids him, even the sweet little old ladies.

He has, apparently, installed cameras in the past specifically to look into the yards of other neighbors who have privacy fences. He did, apparently, threaten the previous owner with a pick axe. Previous owner did not call the police.

When all this was first going on and I was speaking to the lady at code enforcement (we're like friends now, we talk to each other at least a couple times a month) I happened to mention that his electrical service was extremely out of code, and she told me it was grandfathered. (It's not, it can't be, but whatever.) That's my ace in the hole for a rainy day.

Anyway, I'm done playing with him. Fence is up, security cameras are going in (they will monitor my property, not his. Important distinction.) Upon the next incident, I will contact the police for a harassment charge and probably a lawyer for a civil suit. If I catch him doing anything to my property (I have reason to believe he attempted to poison my dogs) or my family, I will not hesitate to expedite the full power of the legal system.

Also, there have been some break-ins recently in our area, so security cameras can't hurt. Can't hurt my home insurance either.

It should also be mentioned that he has done this campaign against the former 2 owners of the home as well, and that he will usually only scream at females, children, and pets.

I am happy to give more info if needed.
posted by TomMelee to Shopping (36 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
If you can find some wired or wireless IP cameras, some software called VitaminD can monitor them. I'd love some networked cameras as well so thanks for asking.
posted by tayknight at 8:10 AM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: So far:
-Moving isn't an option for many reasons.
-I work with those "services." He also has no family, never married, no kids. I believe this is a large part of his frustration. I do not have reason to believe there is mental illness so much as he enjoys being in control and making people do what he wants. He was a miner, but was forced into early retirement because nobody would work with him. This is the story from the neighbor who has lived here 35+ years.
-I included the back story so that people would have a good idea of what I'm looking for and why I'm doing it, so they wouldn't be inclined to question my motive. I believe posts about derails are more likely to invite derails. Thanks, though.
posted by TomMelee at 8:13 AM on September 20, 2010

I have reason to believe he attempted to poison my dogs

If the opportunity to preserve physical evidence arises, do so and contact the police immediately. The sooner this guy is in the intake of some system that isn't your neighborhood, the sooner you can relax. My own reaction to the attempted poisoning of dogs wouldn't involve any period of deliberation, so I commend you for your restraint.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:19 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

The cheapest I have ever seen an outdoor network camera for is around $150-200. Maybe they are cheaper on the 'bay but I would be careful as you could easily end up with something that has fogged lenses from water entry or other problems.

There are several major varieties.

First, there are wired ones which require both a power connection (usually low-voltage DC, like 6-12V) and Ethernet. Then there are ones which require only an Ethernet connection, and draw their power via PoE. This is somewhat more convenient but requires that you have a PoE "injector" somewhere upstream of the camera's network drop, inside the house. Many cameras will work either off of a dedicated DC supply or PoE, I think.

Alternatively there are wireless cameras. These do not require a network backhaul for the video, and use either 802.11 RF or the IP-over-powerline systems to transmit the video back to your server or the Internet. This might be more convenient because it means you only need to get a power line to where you want the camera ... but in some ways that might be less convenient (if you're working with AC or long runs of low-voltage DC cabling where the voltage drop might be an issue). The cheapest cameras I've seen are of this type (although those in particular seem a bit weird and possibly proprietary, since they're designed to be part of a "system" and not standalone).

I would pick them based on your installation location and what's going to be easiest to run: power or network cabling? Then decide from there.

Also, you might want to think about some of the cameras that don't look like cameras; some of them just look like small boxes with a hole in the front. You could buy some fake ones that look really "camera-esque" and put them in more obvious locations, then have the subtle ones in places that look at the obvious decoys. The first thing someone planning something really creepy is going to do (I'd think) would probably involve tampering with the cameras, and that might be all you need for a restraining order or other legal remedy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:19 AM on September 20, 2010 [9 favorites]

I'd check out the security section of monoprice
posted by jrishel at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't think the back story is completely irrelevant as it may help people make better recommendations if they know why they are being used. Additionally, he may get some other advice that pertains to the general situation beyond just the cameras.

My advice would be to get one high quality camera to monitor the area where something is mostly likely to happen.

The other question is, do you want to have covert/hidden cameras to catch him doing something or do you want to have overt cameras to deter him from doing something? If you're going the deterrent route, you might add some dummy cameras to make it look like you have better security than you really do.

You should also make sure that you document every altercation you have with him. Assuming that there is a law suit in the future, it can't hurt to be able to provide details in addition to police records and his reputation in the neighborhood. It will help to be able to provide details that were recorded at the time of the incident that others might not remember or might not get recorded in a police report.

I probably wouldn't want to move either. If you don't end this guy's reign of terror, who will? As long as you feel as though you are in danger, this guy needs help and it would feel like letting him win to move.
posted by VTX at 8:32 AM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: I had one cop stop one day. That day, my fiancee had accidentally thrown a dog toy in a way that made it land on his side of the fence. (Later learned we owned 24" on his side of the fence.) When she went to retrieve it, he came out screaming at her. Not surprisingly, my dogs didn't take too kindly do it, but the worst one of them did was run around the fence, into his yard, and bark at him about 3 times, not even aggressively. His response was to hit her with a broom.

I called them (I had been in the loo), and they all came running inside because, well, because they're well behaved dogs. THAT day the policeman came to the door, and I showed him the offenders, sitting in the doorway wagging their tails. He just said to try to keep 'em out of his yard, and not to worry because he was a cantankerous old snot who just doesn't like people. Since then, they haven't even stopped, they just drive by.

(He called on my boat one day, parked in front of my house, and they then called code enforcement. I just had to move it into my garage.)

I am considering a FOIA request to find out how many times he's called the police on us and the people who have lived there before a reason to determine the need to file charges.

Thanks for the camera advice so far. I wouldn't mind hiding the cameras, honestly at this point catching him so he goes away is more ideal than preventing him, however I will probably mount directly to the brick and/or under the eaves.
posted by TomMelee at 8:33 AM on September 20, 2010

What about web cams pointed out the windows?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:41 AM on September 20, 2010

Oops, I meant to say that you should get one high quality camera to cover the area most likely to need it and then you might be able to skimp a little bit on the rest. It might make more sense to have one good camera and three poor ones than four mediocre cameras. Something to consider at least.
posted by VTX at 8:44 AM on September 20, 2010

Here's the trick - if you're looking for budget items, you'll be trading off your time and system reliability for cost. If you've got the time and can deal with keeping it working, then you can cobble up a system from monoprice.

However, in poking around on security sites and then comparing on the web in general, you can get the Panasonic C-140A for $176 from Amazon, but it needs a proprietary POE upstream which you'll have to buy.

If you can afford $380, I saw this on special at Amazon today-ish, which is about 60% of its normal price for four camera, a DVR and cables. Read the reviews as they are not 100% glowing, but it seems to be a fair amount of bang for the buck.
posted by plinth at 8:48 AM on September 20, 2010

A little unsolicited advice: the local authorities are used to him. They've enabled him for decades by never taking his offenses seriously. They're not going to change for you. Getting out of there, however difficult, is really the best solution. Good luck!
posted by Carol Anne at 8:48 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might also want to consider normal video cameras and a video switcher with an ethernet interface.

IP cameras aren't cheap, but normal ones can be. It's not unusual to find cameras in the $50 range. A quad switcher can be had for a few hundred dollars. Various means of connecting same to either ethernet or USB are out there.

Set some cost goals and hit one of the many, many internet vendors who sell such things. A lot depends on how much quality you want.

In one sense, your problem is easier than most. You know the direction of the threat can can tailor your coverage. Since you are looking for a specific individual, ID will be easier if not conclusive even on modest video. Monochrome is probably adequate.

(If you can find cameras that are powered over the video coax, that would simplify your wiring tasks.)

Good luck. I did camera surveillance on a neighbor dog successfully once. Hope it works for you.

(memail if you have tech questions.)
posted by FauxScot at 8:51 AM on September 20, 2010

is there a way you can not leave the dogs unattended?
posted by jerseygirl at 8:52 AM on September 20, 2010

Mod note: A few comments removed. The question is ostensibly about cameras and probably would have been better with more question and less backstory, but please let's stick, asker and answerer, to trying to get that question answered and skipping any extra side-discussion if that's the goal here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 AM on September 20, 2010

Sometimes when a neighbor consistently calls the cops on you and the cops find no legit reason for the calls, that gives you enough to file a harrassment suit against said neighbor. This is something you should talk to a lawyer about.

I know your neighbor's reactions are extreme, but you should keep your dogs off his property at all times.

LAstly, when he yells at people for irrational reasons, has anyone simply said anything back? I don't bother people and don't mind what they do, but I once had a neighbor come screaming at me for parking my car in the street in front of her house. She was being a wild banshee, telling me I was not allowed to park there because I rent my house next door while she owns her house blah blah blah and that she was going to call the cops on me. I yelled back something about how she doesn't own the public street and she can call the cops to her hearts content because I'm not doing anything wrong and if she continues to yell and harrass me I was goiong to call the cops on her. Never saw her again.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:03 AM on September 20, 2010

I can't speak to what kind of camera you want.

But before you buy and install cameras, you might want to hire a local attorney to research state and local laws/ordinances about the installation and use of security cameras. The last thing you'd want is for your attempt to limit his ability to fuck with you to turn into a tool he can use to fuck with you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:25 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I am sorry I don't have a camera idea, but it looks like others are coming through. My one suggestion would be to look into renting one, or buying some and supplementing with rentals.

I do want to add: document to the smallest bit of minutiae you can possibly document for.

Keep still cameras handy so you can do things like snap photos of him when he does spontaneously insane things. Maybe attach a disposable to a dog leash or something, so you remember to take it outside.

And Jesus Christ, that sounds awful. My sympathies.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:30 AM on September 20, 2010

Check out Detroit craigslist for cameras. There's a whole cottage industry there for motion lights, alarms, cameras, etc.

If that doesn't work for you, I'd look for a "home security" store in the nearest large, poor city. You'll probably need to travel to a questionable neighborhood. But they will be able to guide you through what you need, even if you only buy one from them, and then look for identical units on eBay.

About the root of the problem here: your neighbor is a sociopath. No, really. He's trying to control people he thinks he can control, and trying to avoid anyone he thinks might challenge him (ie, adult males).

If I were in your shoes (and my neighbor is a wacky, but harmless retired miner), especially since you are going to have a child soon, I'd get the authorities involved. You say that you are done playing with him, and for this, I say good for you. But if it were me, I wouldn't wait for the next incident. I'd be very proactive and aggressive. Get your cameras up, make sure Psycho Neighbor knows about them. I would consider buying a handgun, or, if you are understandably uncomfortable with that, get a BB gun that looks like a .45, and make sure that Psycho Neighbor knows you have it. Get a protective order against him. Since he's screamed at your finance (when she was in her own yard, I presume) and reached into your yard to hit your pets, that should be a lock. If at all possible, when you go before the judge to get the protection order, mention the "hoagie buns with peanut butter" and the ongoing problems with Psycho Neighbor and neighborhood dogs. The notion of a poisoned treat tossed into the yard of a small child should provoke a response from even the sleepiest judge. (I might actually phone a local news department about poisoned treats, actually.) I would not engage about the out of date electrical service. Focus on his CRIMINAL behaviors. He may even have a record, who knows. Most sociopaths do.

Document EVERYTHING. Even stuff that he does to other neighbors. The legal system is weighted toward ink and paper, even if what's written is made up from whole cloth.

I might also consider contacting elder services. That's more of a roll of the dice, though.

Hopefully he's been smoking and eating garbage for 65 years, and you'll get lucky soon.
posted by Leta at 9:37 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

But before you buy and install cameras, you might want to hire a local attorney to research state and local laws/ordinances about the installation and use of security cameras.

And/or, check with the police.

Are hidden surveillance cameras legal? An overview of state laws on hidden video cameras.
"Despite the lack of strict laws governing the installation and use of hidden video surveillance equipment, you should really consult with your local law enforcement to be certain of the specific regulations governing your area. This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of the law so that you are not guilty of violating any existing statutes. It is always good to know of any potential violations ahead of time to protect you from costly legal actions in the future."
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: Good ideas, all. Thanks.

-For clarification, the dogs are never, ever unattended outside. Ever. They have right at 1000ft2 of basement all to themselves during the day. We spend some time (not nearly as much as I would like, of course, because of the neighbor) outside daily. One of us is always with them. Ideally now that he cannot see them (nor they him), they can be outside more. It's unbelievably frustrating to have purchased a home largely for its back yard and then to be bullied out of it.

-The next day after the running into his yard incident, I installed fencing (not privacy) around the gaps presented by the carport. There have been no other incidents with them at all, however this has not prevented him from standing on my property (albeit on his side of the old fence) trying to hit them. It's important to note that he will not come outside when I am there. He will ONLY come out when the fiancee or nobody is there. As you can imagine, she is intimidated to go outside by herself at this point.

-Our home is secure. Thanks for the concern that direction.

-cortex, hermitosis, whomever else, sorry.
posted by TomMelee at 10:06 AM on September 20, 2010

Have a Costco membership? $400 will bag you an 8-camera system, 40 foot night vision range, with a 500 gb h.264 recorder. Available online (free shipping) and $200 off retail. PC/3G phone remote monitoring. It may be more than you need but definitely looks like it will do what you ask.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:18 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Specs are listed in the link - but it is indoor/outdoor, weatherproof, and motion-detection enabled with 8 levels of sensitivity.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:20 AM on September 20, 2010

It almost sounds like he hates women for some reason and if that is the case, I don't blame your fiancée for being intimidated. If things go really wrong, she might be in real danger. In this case I would probably go with a combination of somewhat hidden cameras that record and one or two very visible dummy cameras as a deterrent.

I would also try being really nice to him (you but definitely not your fiancée). I don't mean invite him over for dinner but generally smile, wave, and be generally pleasant when you see him around. If he sees you as a threat or somehow thinks that you're enemies, this might defuse things a little (I highly doubt it but anything is possible). What I think is likely is that you will really get under his skin when he sees that he cannot affect your mood with his crazy. Maybe he'll give up, maybe you'll just let him know that he can't win. He wants you to be angry, he wants to your life to be as miserable as his, show him that you won't let it work.
posted by VTX at 10:22 AM on September 20, 2010

The local authorities may be used to him, but that doesn't mean they like him. Maybe nobody's tried to do anything before. When some looney neighbor of mine kept calling Animal Control on me (I got to see the AC officer for my area frequently, and they always assured me the complaints were irrational) they started encouraging me to call and request info about the crazy neighbor--basically gave me info on how to pursue harassment against them. But THEY couldn't do anything about it; it was up to me.

See, if no one *does* anything to get the ball rolling, they can't, either. If no one complains in a way that officials can pursue, what can officials do? Even if they know there's a problem, all they know is they keep hearing about it one way or another. Somebody actually coming up with a list of unfounded complaint calls, coming up with security camera footage, etc etc, now THAT'S something they can use.

Good luck, OP. The rescue I volunteered with once had a couple of dogs returned by a heartbroken family because of a situation like yours. They moved to a place they thought would be great, but it turned out they had a sociopath for a neighbor, and were terrified of him somehow harming the dogs (he'd tried already)...and having just bought the house, they couldn't afford to move again. I was so angry for them, and they were so upset. I hope you can work through it and end up safe and able to relax on your own property.
posted by galadriel at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2010

You might also look into LifeShield, which is cheap, easy to install, and has security camera add-ons that can be monitored remotely from the internet...

I had a neighbor much like this. In fact, if he weren't in a home, I'd think he'd moved in next door to you. I feel your pain; after 3-4 years of his crap, he finally got put in a nursing home by his son and the place got rented out.

The last "incident" I had with the guy that was anything beyond him calling code enforcement or police was a jar of fig preserves that he gave me at Christmas as a "peace present" (and made me vomit for days, which means that yes, I assume he tried to poison me personally).

Do you have a portable camcorder? Or, alternately, a Flip or other phone/digital camera that records audio and video? If so, have your fiancee use it every time she exits the home (to check mail, pick up newspapers, turn on sprinklers, etc.) and have it visible and recording each time. It's not illegal to videotape another person if they are on your property, within public view during daylight hours, and are verbally harassing you or threatening you. Not only that, but I would make a show of exiting your home each day with a pair of rubber gloves on and a plastic bag and walk the perimeter of your fence/area daily, and pick up ANYTHING that looks foreign. Make sure he sees you doing this, and that he infers you are collecting evidence.

Tell your fiancee the next time he addresses her in any way or waves anything towards your pets to yell something like this: "Stop harassing me and do not try to harm my dogs! This is the 5th (6th, 10th) time in X days you have attempted to harass, threaten or harm myself, my pets or my personal property!" as loud as she can and turn the flip/recorder towards him while doing it so he realizes you ARE documenting everything.

Finally, if you own two feet of property on "his" side of the fence, I'd be willing to do something crazy... like speak with a lawyer about drawing up an agreement for him to pay you rent/buy out that strip of land as an easement, because quite frankly, if and when he dies or becomes incapacitated and the bank/whomever sells his house, you're going to run into this issue anyway. As in, property tax issues. If you don't do that now and let that fence sit there, after X number of years pass, it'll automatically become "his" land and not yours. If you do move and sell the house and have been paying taxes on that land and the next owner wants to move the fence, it could become a problem that prevents you from easily selling the property or worse, having to negotiate with the old bastard and getting held up in court or worse.

If he wants to fuck with you, fuck with him right back where it hurts; on his home territory and in his pocketbook. For more on that 24" of land and why it's important, look here and here and here.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:31 AM on September 20, 2010

If I was your wife I'd smile at him and say "So, does the enjoyment you get out of bullying everything that moves make up for having no friends?" Smile again and walk away.

Actually if it was me I'd have a lot more to say, but in the interests of non-escalation I'd recommend you stick to honeyed barbs.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:38 AM on September 20, 2010

Response by poster: I wish she was as firetongued as I am. I'd love for her to spit some poison at him, for her own good as well as his.

FWIW, the new fence eats up a goodly chunk of the 24". Apparently the former neighbor put in the chain link as a way to keep him out of their yard. He threw a holy fit and basically called cops/code enforcement non stop. To make him shut up, the former owner did a survey, which actually showed the fence to be 2 feet INSIDE the property line, meaning that the older gentleman actually lost significant property because of his own stupid grumblings. That's how the fence came to be NOT on the property line, and like I said my new one is much closer. Maybe 5-7 inches away at its furthest. Thankfully, the survey stakes were still in place, so we just stayed inside of them. :)

And yes, I believe that authorities haven't done anything because everyone just tries to ignore him. I, on the other hand, have no problem going toe-to-toe with him. Turns out my lady has a good friend/coworker w/ a brother who is a detective for the local PD. We will be speaking to him about a harassment/assault charges.

BUT---yes, interactions are being documented, I think I've found some winner cameras thanks to some posts in this thread. Now, when he comes out to be a horse's ass, I'll have it on video. Horray.
posted by TomMelee at 11:45 AM on September 20, 2010

When you make your buying decisions, make sure you either consider cameras that have in some sort of night vision capability (this will almost always be in the form of IR LEDs sitting on the front body of the camera) or you consider the field of view and install some motion sensitive lights.

One thing you don't want is daytime cameras pointing at an impenetrably dark yard.
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on September 20, 2010

Advice on camera placement: do not be surprised if one or more of the cameras is vandalized. As he won't have physical access to the cameras directly, and you state you plan to aim them at your yard, be sure to put some sort of metal or similar barrier between the camera and his home, as protection against thrown objects and long objects reached over the fence.
posted by davejay at 1:04 PM on September 20, 2010

Do you have a portable camcorder? Or, alternately, a Flip or other phone/digital camera that records audio and video?

Note of caution: in many cities/states it is illegal to audio record someone without their mutual consent. Video (w/out audio) is often permissable and legal. Once again, check with local and state law enforcement officials.
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2010

If you have a spare computer, you'll find it much cheaper to use coax cameras and a four port capture card than to buy IP cameras. Alternatively, Q-See sells some reasonable affordable networked DVRs (they use coax cameras, but also have a web interface)

If you really do want to go with IP cameras, Panasonic sells some nice ones, with vandal-resistant domes and everything, as does Axis, but they don't come cheap.
posted by wierdo at 2:54 PM on September 20, 2010

I highly recommend the article Problem Neighbors (those who live by the feud) by Marc MacYoung:
You are being confronted with a totally different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and -- usually personally -- dysfunctional way of thinking, A.K.A. an alien mindset. While these people are not literally from another planet, figuratively speaking, they are.

This is not a judgment, it is a statement of fact. A fact that if you want to put an end to the harassment, stress and strain, you will have to accept. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is what it is. And what it is has -- like it or not -- landed in your lap. And it is up to you to find a way to deal with it.

More than that, if you want the problem resolved, you'll also have to accept that

* This situation will not 'just go away.'
* The police cannot 'just' make it stop by 'talking to' the person/people.
* YOU are going to have to do something about it (this means being proactive rather than reactive).
* It's going to cost you time and money.
* It could escalate.
* You'll have someone who hates you as long as you both live there.
* You're going to have to practice 'Cultural Sensitivity Out On The Sharp End.'

That's because you're dealing with someone who 'lives by the feud.' And that translates into this chaos, strain, destruction, hatred, trouble and grief is to the feuder ... among other things ... entertainment.

Yes, you read that right. The feud gives him something to do.

While conflict, trauma-drama, harassment, vandalism and hatred are not your ideas of entertainment, to the small, petty, mean and venial, it is not only that, but a whole lot more. That's why they do it. A feud is a LOT more fun and exciting than watching TV. More than that, it's a game they can play themselves.

The way you stop it is by making A) the game no fun anymore and B) it too 'dangerous' for them to act.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:10 PM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

honestly at this point catching him so he goes away is more ideal than preventing him

If it was only property at stake I'd agree, but it is living animals and your family. I'd put at least some effort into the deterrent route if I were you. Better that he gets off without punishment for the things he's done in the past, but things stop now and you don't end up with dead dogs or worse.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 8:22 PM on September 20, 2010

1) There are very cheap cameras on, though you'll need to provide your own digitizer card. Would suggest large "VIDEO SURVEILLANCE" signs since inconspicuous cameras may be illegal. Definitely point them at you own property, not his, for legal reasons.

2) A sodium vapor light will cost a couple hundred bucks to install but keep your yard as bright as day.

3) Locks on your gates. He's not going to climb a six foot fence to yell at you....
posted by miyabo at 1:53 PM on September 21, 2010

Oh and remember killing a dog is only a property crime, he'd get in more trouble for verbally harassing your wife. And they can't make him move away.
posted by miyabo at 1:56 PM on September 21, 2010

Response by poster: I appreciate the continued responses. The yard is already ringed by motion detector lights that do not shine in anyone else's yard but illuminate mine fully. Like I said, it's ringed in by a large privacy fence and I'm not an idiot.

This man is not dumb, he's messing with everyone else by forcing them to abide the letter of the law, he's not going to do anything that he could actually get in trouble for. I also do not worry about my dogs, because as I said, they are never unattended.

I have found the cameras I'm going to buy, basically the Sam's Club version of the Costco link above. (No Costco's in 200 miles and I'm not buying a membership for one purchase!)

Thanks again everyone for the responses. I intend to be much more Good Will Hunting and much less Rambo in regards to dealing with this individual. He will be receiving a cease and desist from a lawyer (with threat of further action), as well as a visit from a Sheriff's Dept. Detective. Cameras will go in visibly but unobtrusively, and I will get a 10% homeowners discount for my trouble.

Thanks also for all the MeMails. I appreciate everyone's sentiments.
posted by TomMelee at 5:06 PM on September 21, 2010

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