Do you notice someone spending too much time on your property? Such an act is usually considered loitering, and it can be quite annoying. But it’s difficult to control as much as it’s hard to define. So, how do you stop loitering in front of your house?
Loitering on your property can be annoying and dangerous. That’s why it’s important to put a stop to it early. You can do this by installing a security camera, removing any signs of vandalism, using signs, playing sounds, getting a dog, removing sleeping areas, and maintaining your surroundings.
Doing any of these will usually be enough to prevent anyone from loitering your property. But it might not be enough, and in some cases, you could be forced to get law enforcement involved. Here, we discuss what amounts to loitering and how you can stop it on your property.
What Is Loitering
Loitering means to stay idle in a public space or private property without permission for a long time and without any purpose. Each state has its legal definition of loitering, and it may include wearing disguises and mask in public. Loitering captures an individual engaging in any suspicious behavior that could raise justifiable concerns of the possibility of a crime, whether against property or person. Each state and municipality have loitering statutes and ordinances, and it usually exists to prevent other crimes such as solicitation, panhandling, prostitution, drug dealing, begging, etc.
The laws against loitering give the police some rights to disperse potentially dangerous or suspicious crowds. But loitering is mostly a subjective offense. Some places consider it an offense by itself, while in other areas, the police have to observe another criminal behavior before enforcing the loitering rules.
How To Stop Loitering
Loitering on your property can be a nuisance if nothing else, and this is enough reason to want to stop it. There are ways to stop loitering outside your property, and that include:
1. Install Security Camera And Add A Surveillance Sign
Nothing encourages people to be law-abiding, like when they know they’re being watched. You can use this to your advantage by installing a security camera in front of your house and posting a sign to let people know the building is under surveillance. This is usually enough to stop them from walking around aimlessly in front of your house. If they have criminal intentions, they know that your camera will capture such acts, making it easy to catch them. Even if the person loitering doesn’t have criminal intentions, surveillance cameras will discourage loitering. It doesn’t cost much to install security cameras, and they don’t just help you to prevent loitering. They can also help you to keep your house safe in other cases. The chances of burgling reduce with surveillance cameras, and if there’s ever a crime, it’s more traceable using camera footage.
2. Maintain Your Outdoor Environment
A properly maintained outdoor setting can deter loiterers from staying on your property. When people can see that the entrance to your property is well kept and free of anything that could suggest disrepair, they know that people are living within the property. Well-maintained areas also have a better chance of police presence. Part of proper maintenance is to install lighting outside your house, so the front is well brightened at night. Most criminal activities that occur due to loitering thrive in the dark. So, lighting up your property will discourage people from just standing outside your property, especially at night.
3. Remove Any Sign Of Vandalism
This also boils down to maintenance and keeping your property in great shape. Grafitti, broken signs, trash, etc., attract the wrong kind of crowd to your property. You can eliminate that crowd by removing anything that could give the impression of a lack of maintenance of the property. When you maintain your property, people know that you care and will report any trespassing, vandalism, or loitering on your property to the police.
4. Use Signs
Signs can go a long way to prevent loitering in front of your house. Post signs that let passersby know that you don’t condone loitering. The signs will give anyone an initial warning. It also gives you the right to call law enforcement if anyone loiters on the property. You can install several kinds of signs, and it doesn’t hurt to have one that glows in the dark so that people still know not to loiter on your property even at night.
5. Get A Dog
Dogs are great pets, but they’re also good protectors of your property against several crimes, including loitering. Of course, if you’re getting a dog to deter loiters, it should be a dog suitable for that purpose. The sound of barks might be what anyone needs to hasten whenever they’re walking in front of your property. You can make this more fun by posting a sign that warns passersby to beware of dogs.
6. Eliminate Potential Sleeping Areas
Not all loiterers are criminals and busybodies. Some are homeless people who have nowhere to go and will sleep anywhere comfortable enough. If you don’t want them sleeping in front of your house, make sure there’s nothing to encourage such. This might mean removing the benches in front of your house or adding dividers. You can also plant thorny bushes or install fences with gates.
7. Use Sounds
Another way to discourage loiterers is by playing sounds that disperse any crowd gathered in front of your property. This could be music or even more unconventional sounds that make it difficult for people to stand before your property and gossip or engage in any illegal activity. Playing sounds could also let people know the people are at home. Of course, you need to make sure your sounds aren’t so loud as to disturb your neighbors.
Loitering can be quite annoying at best and very dangerous at worst. So, it’s always good to find ways to discourage it from happening in front of your house. Of course, not every loiterer has criminal intent. So you should use civil ways to prevent them from standing in front of your house. Only when that fails can you resort to calling the police.