Your right to enjoy your property fully without dealing with any molestation or trespass is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in American law, culture, and history.
Unfortunately, many people totally disregard boundaries and acceptable behavior when it comes to property and respecting someone else’s land.
This can be true whether it’s a ranch or hunting property, your home, your backyard, your driveway, or your porch.
There are many reasons why people may trespass, and not all of them are malicious.
Sometimes a person may simply be lost, or have the wrong address, while others may genuinely have malicious intentions.
The first and most important thing to do is to try and determine a person’s intentions as soon as possible.
Try to be understanding and helpful unless someone is clearly attempting to break the law or otherwise has bad intentions when trespassing on your property.
Oftentimes, reasonable people will respond best to a simple and clear instruction or discussion about the fact that they are trespassing, and will respect the fact that they:
- Shouldn’t be on your property
- Should leave as soon as possible.
Often people who have made a genuine mistake will appreciate the heads up and simply move on.
This sort of direct and clear communication has the added benefit of letting people know that you’re vigilant and aware of your surroundings and property, which is a great first deterrent.
However, there are more stubborn and problematic types of trespass that can’t always be resolved with a friendly chat or a clear confrontation.
In these instances, you can actually feel quite helpless or struggle to find ways to handle the situation effectively.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the best ways to keep people off your property to ensure the sanctity of your property and possessions at all times, even when you’re not around to keep an eye on things yourself!
Mark Your Boundaries Clearly
One of the most basic and essential things you need to do if you’re having issues keeping people off your property is to mark your boundaries clearly.
This goes for your front and back yard as much as it does for the boundaries or a larger piece of land you may own.
If people aren’t aware that they’re crossing onto private property you’ve already failed at the most simple aspect of keeping your property safe and secure.
Putting up boundaries or clearly visible signage makes it so that no one can claim they were unaware of your ownership of the land, and have disregarded the first, most basic request to keep off.
For an average home, a fence is the most common boundary marking, and these are also commonly used at ranches and larger properties too.
Crossing over fences with no clear access point or signage is a pretty good sign you’re not on someone’s land, so this is the best place to start in keeping people out.
Another step, particularly on larger properties, is to put up signage at regular intervals indicating that the area of land is private property, which makes it abundantly clear that someone is trespassing if they stay on the property.
Adequate signage helps to both prevent people from getting lost accidentally and also makes it clear that you maintain and monitor your property and take trespassers seriously.
Use ‘No Trespassing’ Signs
If you want to take this a step further, or have chronic issues with trespassing, putting up a direct ‘no trespassing sign, is a way to make it even clearer that no trespassing is tolerated.
The slightly more direct and aggressive tone will be enough to make most people reconsider their actions and leave, or prevent them from trespassing in the first place.
People don’t like to be accused of anything, and certainly don’t like the feeling of being watched, which leads us to our next point.
Use Security Cameras
Studies have shown that pickpockets and thieves are less likely to attempt theft when there are illustrations of a pair of eyes in the area overlooking where they are attempting to work.
This is tied to the simple fact that people don’t like the feeling of being watched, especially when they are doing something they shouldn’t be.
Some countries even use this psychological trick to help discourage and reduce these issues in areas where it’s particularly problematic.
The modern security camera takes this principle and turns it into something even more powerful, as it’s both a huge deterrent and a means to try and catch or prosecute someone who attempts to trespass nonetheless.
Installing a clearly visible camera is a great deterrent as people will immediately feel more nervous about trespassing, but make sure it’s hard to access.
Or use an additional hidden camera in case your visible deterrent is compromised or vandalized.
In the world of porch pirates, in particular, cameras are a must-have and there are many great options out there for home security today.
Limit the Number of Entries and Access Points
Limiting the number of entrances will also deter or discourage trespassing, both on large properties and smaller ones.
Fewer entrances make it harder for trespassers to gain entry and make it harder for them to escape.
Combining this with proper boundaries can be enough to make your property very unwelcome and unappealing to trespassers.
Properties with many entrances and access points, roads, paths, and few boundaries however are a trespasser’s delight and make it easy for them to get in and get out at will.
Use Motion Sensitive Lights
Another great deterrent is motion-sensitive lights and can shock, startle and scare off many trespassers very quickly.
No one likes being watched, and if nocturnal trespassers are a problem for you, motion-sensitive lights will make your home far better protected and immediately make your home a less appealing target for trespassing and other activities.
Co-operate With Neighbors
If you’re having consistent issues, it can be a good idea to team up and cooperate with neighbors to help solve the problem.
Combine your resources to help protect each other, whether that’s working on installing better security, maintaining boundaries more effectively, or reporting suspicious activity if a neighbor isn’t home.
If your neighbor IS part of the problem and is actively trespassing, recording them and building a record of their activities and behavior to submit to the police or the courts is your best bet for a long-term solution, as arguing and confrontations often only make things much worse.
Prosecute Anyone Who Trespasses
A final deterrent can be to actually prosecute trespassers, as nothing will show that you’re serious more than getting someone into serious trouble over their behavior.
Generally, this is only best for chronic trespassers who are a serious nuisance or who have damaged property or otherwise behaved criminally.
Ultimately trespassing is a serious offense that causes a great deal of stress and concern for those who deal with it, and it’s not something anyone should have to put up with.
Sometimes the only way to indicate the seriousness of someone’s behavior is to show them the consequences of their actions.