36 answers

Neighbors Trespassing-- Kids & Adults All the Time!

We've lived in our house for 11 years and have never had a problem with neighbors until now. Across from our yard, down a hill, across a street, down another hill, and across a field is a low income housing unit. Recently children and adults alike have been crossing over to our properties, whether we're home or not, to ustilize our property as they see fit. Playing on our swingsets, climbing on my car, drawing on my garage with chalk, throwing rocks at my dog, picking my flowers, etc., etc. I am positive the parents can read the private property/no trespassing signs, and as the children are between ages 6-10 they should be able to (I hope). I have spoken on several occasions to the children (ours & theirs) that no one can play in our yard without our permission and especially if we're not home. I don't even know who the parents are as they are always MIA! Our property rules seem to be disregarded by all. My 92 year neighbor found two children and their mother playing on our swing set while we were at work, she kindly told them that they could not play here, to which the mother replied, "we don't have a swingset, so we'll be playing here". Seriously? I don't even know this woman or her children. Did I mention that it would be easier to walk to on of the two neighborhood parks than to our house?

Two days ago, three of them (8 year olds) were yelling nasty names to my just five year old across the lawn, whom they've never even met; then yesterday they come over and want to play on my swings. I don't want to be mean, but I also don't want the liability. I want to set limits, but I want my children to be able to play with them on occasion. I feel like my sanctuary has been invaded and our rules are being totally disrespected.

Fences, signs, words...no options left other than to sell out & move! Suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This may seem like overkill, but if someone were on my property without permission, I would call the police, each and every time. That is just outrageous!

8 moms found this helpful

Get a scary guard dog. Female dog of certain breeds, for instance rottweilers and dobermans, can be loving family pets, but very territorial when someone they don't know is coming around their family's space.

Hell, my labrador is one scary dog when someone he doesn't know comes around (who would have thought with a labrador? Mind you, he's like a labrador on steroids).

I also agree with calling the police.

6 moms found this helpful

I had this happen a long time ago. I looked out back and a women and her children were in my yard on my swing set. I went out and told her to leave and use the public park. What a nerve to just go into someones yard. I put up a fence and I also got a big dog!!! works like a charm! Put up signs too!

Updated

I had this happen a long time ago. I looked out back and a women and her children were in my yard on my swing set. I went out and told her to leave and use the public park. What a nerve to just go into someones yard. I put up a fence and I also got a big dog!!! works like a charm! Put up signs too!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

This may seem like overkill, but if someone were on my property without permission, I would call the police, each and every time. That is just outrageous!

8 moms found this helpful

Do you have a lock on your fence/ Gate entrances?

Does your neighborhood have a security officer?

Have you spoken with the Police that patrol your neighborhood?

These seem to be your only other options.

This is the sign I would post on each end of the fence.. And I really would report the trespassers..

http://www.discountpropertysupplies.com/private-property-...

6 moms found this helpful

Get a scary guard dog. Female dog of certain breeds, for instance rottweilers and dobermans, can be loving family pets, but very territorial when someone they don't know is coming around their family's space.

Hell, my labrador is one scary dog when someone he doesn't know comes around (who would have thought with a labrador? Mind you, he's like a labrador on steroids).

I also agree with calling the police.

6 moms found this helpful

Start calling the police each and every time they come on your property. If you don't want them there then by all means take all the steps to make sure they understand you are enforcing your boundaries.

5 moms found this helpful

If you decide to call the police, DO NOT call 911. It's not an emergency! Use the non-emergency line.

Some police departments will get involved in neighborhood disputes and I think this qualifies. I suggest you call the precinct and ask to speak to the officer/supervisor assigned to your area. Ask what you can do. They might be able to send an officer out to talk with the people in the low income complex.

Also, go to the complex building and speak with someone in charge of the building. Again, ask what they suggest and what they can do.

Sounds like you have a fence. I"d lock the gate.

Later: Definitely use the non-emergency line unless the police tell you otherwise. In our jurisdiction, if you called 911 for this problem, you would be told to call the non-emergency line. The 911call takers won't take down your information unless there are open 911 lines. It is not true that they have to send the police if you call 911. And calling 911 can prevent a life threatening call from going thru. The dispatch center has a limited number of lines available for 911 calls.

I have been a call center supervisor and know this from that experience.

5 moms found this helpful

You describe these children as yelling nasty names...yet you want to reserve your children's right to "play with them on occasion." REALLY?

I want to first say that we dealt with this EXACT same issue (and we ARE low income, so it doesn't really come into play.)

First, if I found strangers on my lawn, I'd tell them they couldn't be there and ask them to leave. If they didn't, I'd call the police. If they continued to come back, I would call the police. (Have I? YES I HAVE. It's my house, and I have a right to a safe yard.)

Playing on your swings may be innocent, but as you said, a liability. Don't allow it. But climbing on your car and drawing on your buildings? That's flat out vandalism? Again, I'd call the cops. (Have !? YES I HAVE. They are my hard-worked-for things and no one has the right but me to destroy them.)

We were honestly set to move until we just cracked the whip with essentially every child in the neighborhood. We told all the parents we didn't want them in our yard unless we were home and IN the yard because we didn't want anyone to get hurt. For the children who were continually unsupervised and behaving badly...yes, I eventually called the police.

How's the yard now? Wonderful and private. :)

5 moms found this helpful

Notify the police, your HOA(if there is one) and the property mgmt down the hill. Post 'NO TRESPASSING' sign where visible. These signs are legal and binding and could result in an arrest if violated. But first notify all parties of your intent to post these signs and the results in disregarding the signs.
No trespassing signs do hold their weight in the legal system.
Sometimes you have to be ugly, sometimes people don't get it. Protect what is yours first and foremost.

4 moms found this helpful

Can you fence your property? If yes, maybe that would be a solution? If not, I'd probably call the local police and ask for advice. Obviously you're not looking to get anyone arrested, but you'd like people to stay off of your property when they're not invited. Be really careful if you don't do anything - your uninvited guests fall into the "known trespasser" category since you know they're coming over when you're not home. And that leaves you open to liability claims if someone gets hurt on your property. It would really stink to be sued because someone's child falls off of a swing, or whatever.

4 moms found this helpful

Call the police via the non-emergent line and ask that the officer assigned to youar area come out to talk to you when she/he is nearby. I recommend doing this while the kids aren't there so you can talk to the officer and voice your concerns.

Ask if the officer can periodically do checks over the next few weeks and run off any trespassers. Get her/his card. Ask that the other officers (they work in shifts, of course) please stop by so you can get their cards. Know their shifts so you can contact them directly during their shift if needed.

Make it very clear to the children and adults that you will call the police for each and every time they trespass, and you will press charges.

Once that warning is out there, and you find them on your property, do not go out and ask them to leave...let the police do it for you. You've made your wishes clear, now it's time to let the law deal with it.

I have a family like this one street over. They have about 9 kids living in a small house. I posted huge NO TRESPASSING signs. But I also wear a uniform every day...so they're kind of scared of me. I'll be putting up a fence this Summer.

Best of luck!

4 moms found this helpful

Contact your non emergency line to your police department. They can enforce the no trespass.

Next step is the locked privacy gate.

Please do this asap because the last thing you want ig to be sued by some sue happy person because their child fell on your property.

3 moms found this helpful

I would tell the neighbor that she's welcome to call the cops (non-emergency line) vs confronting them herself. Tell the cops there are people on your property and she knows you are not home and have had trouble with vandalism. You might call them yourself and say, "I don't know what to do but my I come home and my home/yard has obviously been messed with and I have signage posted. Please advise...."

I wouldn't imply they have any right to play there. I would send them home. Any child who is not your child's friend shouldn't be near your swingset anyway. It is a liability. You may need to install a fence if they continue to use your swingset unsupervised. You know the moment a child gets hurt the parents will come knocking.

We have a fence and a gate in the back because the previous owners were friends with the house behind us. We had neighbors cutting through - first it was one family that asked, and then another time it was about 15 people we did not know and then it was a grandma who had walking problems with a toddler.

My DH keeps equipment out there that a child should not mess with and it is uneven ground. After talking to them didn't help, we unceremoniously locked the back gate and haven't had a problem since. If you already have a fence, lock it. Then they are doubly trespassing to be in your locked area.

Stand up for your property. If they are not kids you want on your swings, say no. THEY are being mean to your son! Why let them play with his toys?

I would tell them where the parks are, go there. Be firm.

ETA: If there's a non-emergency number, they will still send someone out if the situation warrants it. I've called ours to day, "Hey, there's some guys I don't know lurking around my neighbor's empty house. The knocked on my door and didn't leave any flyers or notices and I don't see a truck with them to indicate a lawn service or handyman business or something." They sent out 2 cars (they travel in pairs) and checked it out. Non-emergency just means someone's not just been shot or something. Don't use 911 if it's not a true emergency.

Also, if you and your neighbors start reporting these incidents, it's likely that you are 1. not alone and 2. something may be done. There was a house down the street and for a long time we did not know it had become a party house. But the immediate neighbors were WELL aware. As a community, we started keeping an eye on them (they would park down the block and walk up to the house) and calling the cops when there was a party there. No way were all the party goers over 21, for starters, and they started leaving trash and beer cans/bottles all over the neighborhood. Eventually the landlord evicted them and sold the house and now it's nice and peaceful again. I'd work with the other neighbors to get this resolved vs putting your house up for sale. Why should you move?

3 moms found this helpful

You said "fences, signs, words..." Does that mean you have a fence? I know someone who put up a fence around their property, including the part of their carpark where they parked their car. The fence was 6 feet high, and in your case, you should lock the gate. The gate can be opened in order to park the car.

I urge you to do this. The reason is that you have quite a liability with these families coming into your yard using your swingset. Your insurance could deny payment if they find out that you have allowed this as a matter of habit. (Not that you mean to let them.)

A fence might cost a lot of money, but losing your house to a lawsuit would cost you more.

Good luck,
D.

3 moms found this helpful

you don't mention calling the police? these people aren't your friends. they have made it clear they aren't interested in being friendly. what do you have to lose? watch out your window and call the police. go stake-out style for a couple days if you have to. make the point that the police will be called, each and every time. be the B. it's time.

also, i agree with SH - TAKE PICTURES. as many as you can. i'm telling you you are right, they are wrong. nail them to the wall.

2 moms found this helpful

I find it appalling that people (adults and kids) are coming to "play" at your house as if they own the place. I would send the kids home as soon as they show up. They are not your kids' friends. If you haven't called the police, please do so. Let the neighbor know that if someone is trespassing while you're at work, that she should also please call the police. I'm sure they will put a stop to it. Good luck. Your kids may not have the option of playing with these children if they (and their parents) can't respect the limitations of personal property. If kids you don't know show up without a parent, I'd send them right home. Your yard is not a public playground and these "neighbors" need to be straightened out.

2 moms found this helpful

police need to be involved in this matter...you need to have the middle man of authority or some not so fun stuff can happen

2 moms found this helpful

I'd probably do several things.

First. No more playing on my property until I have met your parents. If you want you kids to "be able to play with them on occasion", that will need to take place off your property. Meet up at one of the parks you are talking about. It make sense to us that the kids shouldn't be on your property without permission, but obviously they aren't getting it. No more mixed messages. Period.

Get a privacy fence for one. I am assuming your fence is chain link. I realize this can be expensive, but not as expensive as a law suit when you get sued for having an "attractive nuisance". (We have a pool and have to protect ourselves against this too).
Make sure the "ugly" side is facing you so they don't have some place to climb.

When we first moved into our neighborhood, there were no houses around us. It was a new development. We were very concerned about teens getting into our pool. One step we took was to plant black berry bushes along the sides of the fence that were exposed. Black berries have tons of thorns. We figured that may not stop someone one time, but would probably deter them on a second try.

We have a large black lab. I imagine that helps too. She has a doggie door and can get out and announce herself any time.

I'd probably think about a motion sensor camera as well. Even one of those dummy cameras may deter some people. If night time visits are an issue, I'd get motion sensor lights for outside too.

I'd also call the police and suggest this to your neighbor as well. She doesn't need to be targeted or hurt in her attempts to help you out. Right now things are annoying and just a little destructive. What happens when someone gets hurt and the vandalism gets worse? Call the cops every time. No warnings to whomever is trespassing. You see people, you call.

2 moms found this helpful

Wow. Just wow.

Yep. Time to involve the police. Talk to all your neighbors and request that you all form a "neighborhood watch." Post a few signs in that regard. Find out the necessary numbers (non-emergency or 911) and post it on an easy to read paper. Ask your neighbors to call the police anytime they see someone other than your family on your property.

Is there a management company for this housing unit? Call them and explain that several tenants are trespassing on your and your neighbor's properties. Request two things. 1. Ask that their tenants (via newsletter, or flyers) remind their children to play at the neighboring parks and not on private property --- that the police will be involved if they don't. 2. Inform new tenants about the local parks that are X blocks away.

Good luck mama!

2 moms found this helpful

Where do I start??? First, they climb on your car, huh?-I would think that they would see a car and say that the owners are probably at home--but this did not dissuade them evidently.

I am black and middle class. I have a big affinity for black, poor children--because of the cultural connection--and my need to have my son make friends within his own culture as well as other cultures.

So saying if they were black--I would try to befriend them and let them know my play date rules. I would try to be a role model for them--letting them know how to care for things....

If they were any other ethnic group beside my own--my thoughts may be the close to the same--although I would not feel a real need to nurture a relationship.

Then I would pray that they (regardless of ethnicity) moved...

2 moms found this helpful

Yep, I would call the police and tell the neighbors to do the same next time they see trespassers.

I'm not classifying everyone here, but it *seems* that a lot of low income housing people really have a way of tearing up a neighborhood... I've seen it happen to many neighborhoods.

I would ALSO contact the housing unit's management, and let them know what is going on. Tell them they need to notify their residents that their continuous trespassing on other's property will warrant your neighborhood to start calling the police and pressing charges.

2 moms found this helpful

Call the police -911 unless your city/town has a special number for non-emergencies (ours doesn't) -EVERY time this happens. Get a fence as well. Check with your police station about the number to call, because in the city of Atlanta, you're supposed to call 911 for EVERYTHING. Numerous police captains at numerous neighborhood meetings have told us this over and over. Kids in your yard, armed intruders, carjackings -it doesn't matter -call 911.

Start getting rather firm -even ugly (they're not being nice to you -are they? I would get REALLY mean to those nasty brat kids -unfortunately they haven't been raised to understand anything else) - with these people. I would've ripped that mother a new one if she had said that about my yard and swing set! Let them know that they will be arrested if they trespass in your yard any more. Call the police CONSTANTLY. It's amazing how they'll start acting on things when they're called about it every single day -sometimes more than once. I've had this problem before and the only thing that worked was me getting really mean with a group of neighborhood kids and their prostitute mothers and calling 911 practically every time they crossed the street to my side. It stopped though, and they moved.

DVMMOM is also correct -get a dog that's large and will bark and growl at them. I have a solid black Lab, sweet as can be, but the area I used to live in didn't have a lot of people familiar with Labs. When I would walk her, everyone was scared to death of her! She and another stray my husband found were instrumental in stopping our problem. I told one of the "mothers" if you could actually call her that, that I was letting them out the front door the next time anyone was in my yard.

2 moms found this helpful

I had this happen a long time ago. I looked out back and a women and her children were in my yard on my swing set. I went out and told her to leave and use the public park. What a nerve to just go into someones yard. I put up a fence and I also got a big dog!!! works like a charm! Put up signs too!

Updated

I had this happen a long time ago. I looked out back and a women and her children were in my yard on my swing set. I went out and told her to leave and use the public park. What a nerve to just go into someones yard. I put up a fence and I also got a big dog!!! works like a charm! Put up signs too!

2 moms found this helpful

Call the Cops.
Document all of this and that you have told them to get off your property.
And, take photos of them on your property using your property etc.

The next thing you know, they may be blaming YOU for something while on your property. Or stealing or who knows what.

2 moms found this helpful

In addition to all the excellent suggestions given so far, my off-the-cuff, tongue-in-cheek response would be to think about getting a really big, scary-looking dog with a loud deep bark. And then put a sign on the fence/gate with a picture of a Rottweiler or Doberman, that says "I can make it to the fence in 3 seconds - can you?" I am kidding, of course - but still something to think about. Or just get the sign and no dog!

Interestingly, regardless of breed, many people automatically are more afraid of solid black dogs than any other color. But there are also a lot of dogs out there that are "scary-looking" without typically actually being aggressive and they make great family pets. Such as Boxers and Dobermans.

2 moms found this helpful

You really have no choice here but to get the police involved. Think of your liability if one of these kids gets hurt on your property.

1 mom found this helpful

Communication!

Why not have the kids take you to their house and talk to the parents in person?

Seems like that's the only thing not tried yet. You can't expect 6-10 year olds who want to swing & slide to heed your "warnings," but maybe if the parents were on board?

Then ask for their phone numbers, and give them yours so you can arrange a few play dates. So they can play on occasion.

If they want to play and it's not a good time for you, just say "NO, this is not a good time. Sorry, come back another time." I send kids home all the time. No biggie.

1 mom found this helpful

GET A MEAN DOG!

We had/still do have these issues with children coming into our yard to play when we were not home. We had a trampoline, swing set, sand box, etc. I never could contact their mothers (never did see any), as they were never home or I was at work. When I was home one day on vacation, I saw where they were climbing the privacy fence, confronted them and then started talking to them telling them this is not their property, etc.. Little did I know that their "older brother" was playing in the field across the street and started yelling at me for telling them to stay out of our yard. I told him that this is private property and they could not play here. The next day, my privacy fence was” tagged,” boards were broke and missing, and my car window was broken too. IT WAS WAR!!! AND GOT A DOG! I had to booby trap the yard (dog poop all over where they would step to get in) so these children could/would not come in and locked all the gates. Thank goodness they moved, but more "bad" children moved in the hood. Now that we no more toys, they are destroying property from the outside (cars/trucks, privacy fence posts, flowers, pavement, windows, etc.)

1 mom found this helpful

if you guys already have a fence im shocked that these people are so rude.. have u put a lock on the gate to your fence.. does your fence go all the way around your yard so that theres no other way to get in there .. i highly doubt they would be that desperate to climb over the fence.. honestly it would piss me off to.. id call the cops next time and say u cant take it anymore no matter what u say to these people they continute to come in your yard wether your home or not and use your swingset.. id also inform your neighbors in the houses next door that if they see this they can call the cops because obviously these people dont care what anyone says theyre just going to do as they please

1 mom found this helpful

Call the police - 911 and tell your neighbor to do the same. If you call 911 they have to send an officer out. If you call a non-emergency number, they don't.

Ugh, these people are horrible! I'm so sorry you are going through this.

1 mom found this helpful

Hm, maybe I am understanding this wrong: you have a fully fenced property and these people are climbing the fence to get into your yard and use your property as a public playground? If you don't have a full fence put one up! One that's high enough, too and lock the gate when you leave. Make it very clear to them (no need to try and be polite here) that you do not wish for ANYONE child or adult to enter your property next time you catch them, tell them if it happens again you have to call the cops... and then FOLLOW THROUGH. One clear warning in person... and then 911 or your local non-emergency number. Ask your neighbors to do the same...
Apart from the invasion of privacy, what do think will happen if someone gets injured on your swingset... yep, they will sue YOU.
If you stop trying "not to be mean" and mean what you say by following through and asserting what's yours - people will stop treating you like a doormat - and if they don't want to play with your kids anymore after this...doesn't sound like it would be a great loss for your children given the lack of manners these people are demonstrating.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow..it seems you already have a dog, signs, and a fence. I'm thinking at this point I wouldn't be so nice. Hmm...the devil on my left shoulder is telling me to booby trap the swing set with thumbtacks that would stick they're little obnoxious bottoms when they sit down to swing... or perhaps one of those exploding dye packs planted on the swing seat...lol. However the Angel on my right shoulder would just write them off entirely. I would ask around and find out exactly where they live. I'd approach the parents once to inform them of the issue and make it clear that all future visits to your property will result in a call to the police and you will be pressing charges for trespassing and destruction of property if necessary. If they're yelling nasty names and your child that is not someone I would want my child playing with anyway so really no great loss in the playmate department. Do not leave that open door for sometimes play....if you give an inch they will take a mile. I'd also ask you neighbor to kindly call the police should she see anyone in your yard again. I think that was very neighborly of her to get involved. Now a days not many people will step up and do the right thing for fear of repercussions. The police do not have to tell the children's parent's who reported the incident so she will not become a target herself. Good Luck and God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful

Contact the police, every time the trespass.

And built a privacy fence, with a gate that locks/latches from the inside.

1 mom found this helpful

I'd talk to the cops and see what they suggest.

I would NOT allow this to continue.

I like the idea of a dog too.

1 mom found this helpful

We've also had problems with neighbor children and will be adding a fence to our yard this summer.

We also have a dog. She's a boxer lab mix. She looks like a black boxer, and is on the small side at 50lbs. The kids in question are scared of her, but tease her when they can—barking back at her, etc. I've never seen them get close enough to throw anything at her but she's also extremely well trained and won't go near them either. Right now she's contained in our yard with an invisible fence. (We joke that we should get those for these kids to keep them on the other side. Just a joke!)

We didn't get our dog to be a guard dog. She's part of the family. If you decide to get a dog be advised that some breeds are restricted under some homeowners insurance policies. Rottweilers, Dobermans and Pit bulls are all seen as aggressive dogs. Any dog can be an aggressive dog when not trained well and treated well by their owners but these dogs have been labeled.

Remember you are responsible for the actions of your dog and could be sued or fined if your dog harms anyone whether they are on your property or not.
So think long and hard before getting a dog.

Good luck with your situation. I know how aggravating it can be.

1 mom found this helpful

Is your backyard fenced in? If it is and these people are coming in the neighbor should call the cops. and she should have a written / notarized paper saying that you will press charges against anyone in the yard without you being home. it will only take once.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sorry you are going through this. Definitely get the cops involved. It sounds like you are surrounded by low life people. It's their culture, they don't know any better, they really don't care. Start saving up money to move out.

1 mom found this helpful

Here is what I would do. First, if you know who the offenders are and what family the children belong to, I would go in person and tell them to please simply respect that they and their children cannot be on your property or you will have call and get the authorities involved. Then I would post no tresspassing signs and install a few secuirty cameras. If you "catch" anyone sitting on your car or using your swingset you've asked not to be on your property, press charges.

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