Trouble with the neighbors..again

Updated on September 14, 2011
H.M. asks from Charlotte, NC
12 answers

what would you do ladies?

we have woods behind us that are city property... there's a creek... and another neighborhood behind that. we often go for hikes back there. other children in the neighborhood play back there. i've seen one neighbor walk her dogs back there almost every day. i see people on both sides of the creek almost everyday. the city plans on putting in trails at some point.

it's not out of the ordinary for my son and his other neighborhood friends to play back there. however... they need to tell me when and where they are going and i never let my son back there by himself. i can usually see them and hear them while i am in the garden.

my son came home last night from playing in the neighborhood with another boy. i knew they had been in the woods and as i was putting him to bed, he was telling me about a toad they had caught and released. he then told me about an arrow he found. arrow? he said it belonged to our next door neighbor. what? i asked how he knew that and my son said the gentleman that lives next to us was back there holding a bow and said, "hey boys! you found my lost arrow! thanks!" and took it from him. i asked him again where the man was. my son said he had walked from the woods and went into his backyard.

this morning, i looked over the adjoining fence between us... past some bushes and there was a huge deer target and another smaller square target in this open field of space behind him house... on city property... right near where the boys play. he must be target shooting back there. i know they feed the local population of deer back there.

after digging around on the government website for awhile and finding nothing, i called 311 and asked if it was legal to target practice with a bow inside city limits and no... it's not. you can't even do it on your own property. it's considered a weapon and shooting it is illegally discharging a weapon. they advised me to call 911 and report him immediately if i ever see him doing it or the children see him doing it.

i telephoned the other mom and we agreed keep the kids out of the woods. she didn't want to get anymore involved than that.

i feel it's wrong to just let him keep breaking the law and potentially hurting someone.

would you make a point to watch for him practicing and just call the cops?

we are already on non-speaking terms with them from past issues. i hate to make it worse. but i keep thinking that someone could get hurt.

i've typed up a draft of a letter to the safety committee for our neighborhood... is sending it to them enough?

what would you do?

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So What Happened?

thanks for all the advice. i'm in contact with the police and have placed a phone call to the neighborhood association president to alert him. together we can figure out how to alert the neighborhood behind us. i have a feeling they'll figure out it's me but whatever. i'll let you know what happens next. again... thanks.

update: either the police or the neighborhood association president contacted him. his targets have been pulled in. i consider this a warning. i won't hesitate to call 911 if this happens again. thanks again for all of your advice!

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

He may be 'responsible' about it--but that's a moot point. It's ILLEGAL. You've already researched that.
Options would include:
1. talking to him (probably not a good option for you since you've had prior issues and are on non-speaking terms)
2. Sending a letter to the neighborhood safety committee - really what is this going to do except single this man out for nasty treatment and snide remarks
3. Call the police.

In my opinion, this activity is illegal, unsafe and needs to be reported to the proper authorities. Then let them handle it.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

I would put on my big girl panties and do the adult thing. Go to your neighbor, tell him you know it is against the law but you don't want to stir up trouble you just want to make sure the kids are safe. He will stop.

What you are considering doing is using a stupid law that isn't so stupid in its intent. In other words the punishment for it is ridiculous! Just so that you don't have to be an adult and just tell your neighbor that what he is doing is dangerous. That just isn't right.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes, you hate to make it worse. But he is breaking the law. It sounds from his response to the kids as if he is unaware that he's breaking the law -- he would have been more surly with them or tried to deny the arrow was his, if he were aware he's lawbreaking. I would write to that safety committee -- but you also must get thte town government and police involved; however, you can do it angry and boiling or you can do it like a calm homeowner who follows the rules. The latter will get you a lot more help.

I would call the police's community liason officer. Most departments have one. Explain the situation: This is city property, you already checked with the city and it's illegal to shoot on that property, the city says you have to see him shooting in order to call the cops. Is that right? What do the cops say? Ask them if they are williing to send the community officer to his house to say "We can see the targets sitting back there and we know you accepted an arrow from kids and said it was yours; it's illegal; in the interest of safety, the targets must go." I would think the cops would be willing to do this even if he is not spotted in the act of shooting -- especially if the targets are sitting right there in sight. They may only be able to "advise" him to stop shooting in his yard and not order it but he should get the message. Emphasize to the cops that you are trying to be a good citizen and prevent a kid from being hurt or killed, rather than just waiting and watching to catch him shooting an arrow --when it may be too late.

If the town plans to put in trails, the town government must consider this property -- what? An offically designated town park? If not, you and your neighbors need to work with the city to get the property legally and formally designated a park with clear signs and boundaries and notices to all neighbors that it is a park and what is and isn't allowed. This isn't just about the one person and the arrows, it's about the whole neighborhood then.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If it was me I would first try talking nicely to him, I mean this is a safety issue for all the children who use those woods. IF you can not do that, than send the letter, or get the police involved.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I would go with your gut.

Maybe he doesn't know he he is breaking the law, but so what. Prevent the unthinkable before it happens. Don't feel bad about making waves, doesn't sound like a good neighbor if he's dumb enough to shoot arrows in an arrow where kids play....maybe you can do it anonymously?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I would absolutely report it.

When we first moved here, I was 13, and my parents neighborhood was still mostly vacant lots; there weren't many houses. We used to shoot bow and arrows in our yard; there were no other people around, and it backed up to the 'dent'; a long piece of high land with the railroad on the other side of that and a fence.

One day, contractors came out and told us it was illegal to shoot bows`and arrows... no problem, now that people were around, we weren't going to risk hitting somebody.

We did, however, forget to bring in the target, and one worker called the cops on us. We weren't still actively shooting, and the cop was super cool, just let us know we couldn't and asked us to remove the target.

My point is, it's illegal, and leave the legal stuff to the proper authorities if you're uncomfortable with discussing this with your neighbor. Have the boys tell the police exactly what happened. Better safe than sorry!

Good luck, and what a bummer they can't play back there right now, sounds really neat!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would call the non-emergency police number and let them know that you are concerned for the safety of the neighborhood that this man is shooting arrows. What would happen if you did nothing and he hits a kid? You wouldn't be able to live with yourself. The woods are for the enjoyment of everyone! Call!



answers from Kansas City on

I would take it as far as I needed to, including calling the police. Your neighbors do not need to know that it was you who called on them. I think it is good that you have a safety committee for your neighborhood too, then everyone knows of the danger, and can keep an eye out so you can get the police called when he starts practicing again.



answers from Louisville on

I would let my kids play out there but tell me right away if he was out there shooting then call the cops


answers from Kansas City on

the law is the law, I would contact the police department and find out the proper procedures to go about. maybe they will just send him a letter in the mail warning him. I would also send the letter to the safety committee as well!


answers from Lansing on

I agree with Cate. He may not know, so l would advise him, then if he doesn't care to comply call the police. You certainly don't want to wait for something bad to happen. It is very irresponsible on his part to be doing that with children in the neighborhood!

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