How To Scare a Trespasser Away (6 Action Steps)

The idea of someone trespassing upon property that you rightfully own will fill most people with a combination of insensate anger and roiling violation. That is your land, your parcel, your property. They don’t belong there. What were they doing?

Did they take anything, damage anything or are they just scouting for some other nefarious purpose? These questions quickly pile up into a feeling of paranoia. Before long, every moment you are awake you are wondering if someone else is nosing around, snooping, trespassing.

no trespassers sign

Trespassing might only be a misdemeanor crime in the vast majority of states, but it is still a crime, and ethically no one has a right to come onto your property uninvited, or otherwise given explicit permission under the law.

Naturally, people who own land or any other kind of property be it developed or undeveloped have a vested interest in keeping trespassers out, and catching those who trespass flagrantly or often.

This however is easier said than done. You are only one person, with one set of eyes, and you cannot be everywhere at once.

Even if you are acting as a dedicated lookout if your parcel is large there might not be any way to effectively monitor it all at once, and most trespassers are not so clumsy that they abstain from watching out for the people who are on the lookout for them.

This is where I come in: In this article, I will share with you tips, strategies, and tactics for catching trespassers on your property.

Why Are Trespassers on Your Property?

This is not some reverse psychology question to get you thinking about where you went wrong with your property or any choices you have made about it; this is a sincere question to get you strategizing, and thinking about why people are trespassing on your property in the first place.

Their reasons for being there will inform their actions while on your property, and once you know that, you can start to formulate countermeasures in order to deter or catch them. Before you begin, ask yourself how you became aware of the trespassers in the first place.

Did you see evidence of their passage? Was something missing or damaged? Did someone else near your property ask if you or anyone under your purview was at the property recently, when neither was the case? The following are just a few of the possible reasons someone might be trespassing:

  • Poaching: A person might trespass on private land to hunt animals for meat, fur, trophies, or sheer sport. Except in the case of a trapper, a person doing so is highly likely to be armed, and must be approached with caution if at all.
  • Exploration: Some people just wander where their feet take them, or want to see what is beyond the next rise. Others might trespass to see a particularly interesting natural feature, excavation, or abandoned structure on your property. While these people likely mean no harm, it does not excuse trespassing. You can also include loiterers in this category when discussing developed properties.
  • Hiking: Similar to explorers, if a natural trail or path has been present on your property for some time, especially one that has been used often by hikers in years past, they will probably continue to do so despite the change in ownership.
  • Scouting: And not the wholesome kind. A criminal might be looking for opportunities to commit or support other crimes, be it theft or breaking and entering, developing routes for the movement of illicit goods, body disposal or anything else you might imagine.
  • “Advanced” Work: Typically done by stalkers and other psychos, a person who has taken an unhealthy interest in you, your family or your holdings might investigate them looking for ways to harass you or get close enough to attack from ambush.

One of the most common types of trespasser that landed preppers and homesteaders will have to deal with is that of the illegal poacher. A poacher is someone who takes animals, or even something like antlers, off of land you legally own without permission or support of the law.

Why would someone do this?

Well, why would someone steal anything?

Maybe you have a nice population of animals on your property, or they migrate through frequently. Perhaps the terrain is ideal for the easy taking of trophy animals.

Maybe the terrain results in deer ready to shed their antlers losing them regularly, making it a gold mine for shed hunters (and shed poachers).

Perhaps you have trespassers that are after something else, perhaps exploring an abandoned mine or other property that is somewhere on your parcel.

Maybe it is just an enjoyable walk through the wilderness, and has been traveling for some time in your area, but the constant passage of traffic is causing damage or unsightly disturbance, and you want it stopped.

There are some trespassers that just want to go where they know they are not supposed to go.

It is like putting a big red button on the table in front of somebody; no matter how much you warn them that button is going to get pressed and they are going to be the one to do it!

But, one must never underestimate a trespasser’s motivation. It is entirely possible that they are there for some other, fouler nefarious purpose. Are they doing their advance work ahead of the commission of some other crime?

Are they preparing to break in, to steal? Are they looking for a place to bury a body? One can never know for sure, even if you decide to confront them, and that alone should be cold caution for doing exactly that.

It is a minor crime, but you will be dealing with someone who knows full well that they are committing one. What else might they be capable of?

Once you have reasonably determined why a trespasser is on your property in the first place, you can then start working backward from their objective in order to deter and, hopefully, catch them in the act, which will give you more recourse for dealing with them.

What Kind of Property Are You Protecting?

You don’t protect all kinds of property the same way. Obviously, you will protect a developed property like a parking lot, vehicle garage or strip mall differently than you would an unimproved piece of land.

The type of the property along with where it is located is largely going to determine how your trespasser is gaining access as well as what their routes of ingress and egress are.

A piece of property that has access-limiting obstacles like fences, gates, bollards or other permanent barriers designed to restrict and funnel movement will either force a trespasser to make a decision or change their plan in order to circumvent it.

A piece of property that is wide open might seem virtually impossible to monitor or predict where a trespasser might come from, but people, just like animals, are generally predictable in their movements once you understand their motivations and typical pathfinding decisions.

Additionally, consider that undeveloped or commercial properties are typically much different in both layout and location compared to a residential property.

Unless you live on a sprawling estate or massive working farm, you are unlikely to have a home property so large that trespassers can enter it illicitly out of sight from the house.

While you have every right to pursue a solution to trespassers against any property you own, of any kind, keep in mind that the law often makes distinctions between the two when defining trespassing, and your response will have to abide by that.

You can use the majority of the tips and procedures we will go over in this article on any kind of property since they function based on the understanding of the principles of surveillance and protection.

Security Assessment

Time to do a little detective work. Before you set about the business of catching a trespasser in the act using various means, you must first determine a few essential characteristics about their activities, and about your property.

The first is what routes the trespasser is likely taking to get to your property, and then what routes they are taking as they move around on your property. The second essential characteristic is how they are likely to gain access, even if in your case, access is just stepping across the property line from the neighboring property to yours.

Gaining access does not necessarily mean breaking and entering for the purposes of our discussion.

If you have a developed parcel, people are likely to gain access to it directly by vehicle, or on foot by parking a vehicle nearby. Even if they are approaching and departing solely by foot, they probably do it via the sidewalk or the shoulder of the road.

As we will learn later, discovering what they are driving, if they are driving anything, is almost as important as getting a good, clear look at their face.

If you have an undeveloped parcel of land and in particular a large one this task might seem impossible, but do not despair! People are creatures of habit and are also often lazy.

People very typically want to move along the route of the least possible resistance in order to go faster and save energy.

Not for nothing, it is also in your best interest to consider by which route a trespasser might make an escape if they are confronted or decide they have been detected. You also need to consider an escape route for yourself if you are going to be the one doing the confronting!

If you’re protecting your land against poachers, remind yourself that these people will certainly be armed unless they are merely scouting routes and hide sites.

It must be said that you must follow the letter of the law in all regards when it comes to trespassing deterrence, confronting trespassers, and the use of force! Let the police and the courts do their jobs.

Don’t put yourself into a situation where there is a possibility of a negative outcome for little or no gain. Consider the following questions to help you get a handle on the situation:

  • Undeveloped/Unimproved Land
    • Where is a trespasser likely to approach your property from?
      • A nearby road, path or trail?
      • A neighboring property?
    • What is their access point?
      • Gate, driveway, other designated path?
      • Hole in fence?
      • Walk on? If so, where is terrain most favorable for doing so?
    • What are they doing on your land?
      • Poaching – Animals, artifacts, other?
      • Exploring
      • Scouting – What else do they have in mind? Are they doing prep work for another crime?
      • Squatting
    • What are their likely paths of egress and escape if spooked or confronted?
  • Improved Property or Building
    • What nearby roads furnish easy access and low or no observability?
      • Attempting to spot or capture on film a trespasser’s vehicle or initial movement is likely along such paths.
    • How are trespassers getting into/onto property?
      • Walk/Drive on?
      • Hopping fence or wall?
      • Something else?
    • What are they doing?
      • Vandalism
      • Exploration/loitering
      • Illicit/illegal activity
    • Do you have neighboring or nearby your property:
      • Cameras?
      • Potential witnesses?
      • Security?
      • Any or all can assist with your own efforts.

In the following sections we will discuss your overall strategy that supports your objectives in dealing with the trespassers and also show you tactics, techniques and procedures that will help toward that end.

Determine Your Overall Trespasser-Busting Strategy

Obviously you want your property free of trespassers. That is the goal. But how best to accomplish that? This is where a little bit of strategy needs to kick in. You are a hunter in a way, trying to suss out the best way to detect and capture your quarry, only this time you are after identifying characteristics, not trophies and meat.

Additionally, don’t overthink it: All you are trying to do is get people off your property and hopefully keep them off. There are more ways to do that than just snapping a good pic of their face or car.

For instance, trespassers who are unaware of any surveillance systems, observers or other deterrents might keep coming back.

Those who lack conviction or are afraid of being discovered might depart and never return if they see those same countermeasures, and think there’s even a chance they will be discovered and punished.

On the other hand, certain trespassers who see surveillance systems and obvious countermeasures may only step their game up, or attempt to disable them.

This includes observers and potentially even security guards depending on what they are up to! The point is to make sure your comprehensive security plan supports your objective.

If someone is trespassing on empty land and you just want them to stop, it might be enough to take their picture with some camouflaged trail cameras and then confront them if you live in a small town where everyone knows everybody.

In more serious instances of trespassing, especially on developed parcels, it is probably best to get the police involved.

Trespassing, the Law, and Your Responsibilities

Before we go any further I must stridently recommend you become fluent with the trespassing law in your state and in your locale. You can find the trespassing laws for each U.S. state here.

Note that your local government might have different laws that are more or less stringent!

Only by understanding your responsibilities as well as your rights as a property owner when it comes to trespassing can you take action knowing that the law is on your side and you won’t actually be opening yourself up for charges or liability.

As I mentioned above, most states only treat trespassing of any kind as a misdemeanor, which means it is a crime that is not so serious. Quite a few actually treated it as a simple violation, not even a misdemeanor!

You will also find that the majority of states place a burden of notice or notification on property owners when they want to bar trespassers from entering their property. Typically only by employing proper notification can you expect the law to significantly penalize those who trespass.

Take, for instance, vacant and unimproved land. A person who trespasses upon this land in flagrant disregard of conspicuous markings on fence posts or trees, or who does so disregarding a posted no trespassing notice is oftentimes then committing a misdemeanor, sometimes a significant one.

But in that same state, if that land is not posted against trespassers or the posting is improper or out of specification then there might not be any charges to begin with, or they could be reduced in severity.

Also, a few of you tough guys and tough gals in the audience need to hear this: You must be very cautious confronting anyone who is trespassing. In the vast majority of places, trespassing is not a forcible felony, and you are not allowed to attack anyone just because they are on or occupying your property.

These confrontations are typically charged with emotions, and the land owner or their agent who is confronting the trespasser will typically insult, make legal threats, or even threaten physical harm which will agitate the situation and often lead to a fight.

You definitely don’t want to get into a fight with any trespasser if you can avoid it, so make sure you are not the one who instigates it because you are shooting your mouth off.

Also consider that you are responsible for everything you say and do during the interaction. This isn’t exactly a home invasion you’re dealing with here, so you won’t have as much lenience to be expected from a judge or jury as you would if you were genuinely in extremis.

Threatening harm with or without a weapon, assaulting someone and similar Behavior might see you charged right along with the trespasser. You do not want to be the person who gets a hand or worse caught in the gnashing, grinding gears of our legal system.

That being said, you must be prepared to defend yourself in case the trespasser is prepared to escalate and use force against you! They might do this in order to cover up their crime or keep you from going to the police at all.

It sounds unthinkable to some people, but you never know another person’s status; where they are emotionally, mentally and practically.

That trespasser who is snooping around on your land looking to shoot a deer out of season might have serious warrants out for his arrest, unbeknownst to you. It does not take much imagination to see how he will associate you cornering him during his trespass leading directly to police involvement and a short trip back to prison.

You might not have to confront a trespasser depending on what evidence you are able to gather and how good it is, but if you do always be on your guard, maintain your bearing, and stay calm, cool, and collected.

6 Effective Ways to Scare Trespassers

Set up Signs and Markings

It might not seem like much of a defense, but posting the appropriate “no trespassing” signs and markings around the bounds of your property is oftentimes necessary to take full advantage of the laws or local ordinances against trespassing.

It can also serve as a deterrent. Let’s face it, some invaders that would otherwise trespass will be scared off from doing so if they are aware of or otherwise think they could be observed and caught!

No matter what kind of signage or markings you are employing, you have to keep check on them periodically because they will be degraded by exposure, torn down by trespassers, and otherwise defaced or destroyed.

Here are a few examples of acceptable markings and signage, including a few you might consider employing as deterrents. As always, you must check your local and state laws, and conform to them if you want to be on the right side of the law:

  • Signs
    • Typically must be of a certain size and include certain verbiage.
    • “No Trespassing” “Posted: No Trespassing”, “Private Property” etc.
    • Verbiage requirements vary state to state.
    • Signs must be posted at specific intervals or locations around property.
      • Typically all four corners.
      • At specific intervals along boundaries.
      • At every entrance or passage.
    • Specialty Signs
      • Can warn off trespassers.
      • “Recording in Progress”
      • “Property Patrolled”
      • “Trespassers will be prosecuted”
      • “Monitored by drone”
      • Etc.
      • Avoid threatening novelty signs!
  • Markings
    • Hi-vis purple paint marks on posts or trees.
    • Some states mandate placement around property boundaries.
    • Usually follow spacing and placement requirements for signs, but not always.
    • Marks usually must be so wide, so long and made at certain height off of ground.

Even if signage or markings are not a specific requirement in your locale, you definitely want to consider putting some up. As mentioned above, signs will deter a certain amount of trespassers from even coming onto your property.

You might also consider placing signs that are above and beyond what is required by law, ones that can perhaps sow doubt or nervousness in the minds of timid trespassers.

Consider signage that says things like “recording in progress”, “cameras in use”, “property secured by…” and so forth. Even if your property is not protected by such measures, it cannot hurt your chances of getting rid of at least a few potential trespassers.

No matter how much you like them, never, ever put up threatening novelty signs. In case you do have to use force in defense, signs that threaten violence will make you look very bad in court.

There is one instance you should consider though, if you are trying to obtain a positive ID on regular or repeat trespassers.

If you have only recently installed surveillance devices upon your property, especially if they are concealed or camouflaged, you might consider not placing any signs that could potentially alert a trespasser to the presence of those surveillance devices.

Especially in the case where a trespasser is a repeat offender, or has grown especially bold in their comings and goings, tipping them off about the presence of cameras could only get them looking for ways to circumvent or destroy them. Better to remain hidden and rely on the cameras to obtain a positive ID.

Limit and Narrow Entry Points

The fewer points of entry are visible from the outside, the less likely for your average trespasser to get it or otherwise land on your property for whatever reason.

As you might expect, you’ll have to set up obstacles in the form of:

  • gates
  • fences
  • pallets
  • shrubs and trees

… or anything else you can think of.

Install Security Cameras

Cameras have obvious use and utility for securing properties against trespassers and are your best bet for getting photographic evidence of their activity as well as their identity, hopefully, as that will give you all the evidence you need to press charges and hopefully put an end to their shenanigans if it comes down to it.

There are as many types and styles of cameras out today as there ever have been in history and no matter what kind of property you are protecting there is an application that will be suitable for your objective.

Consider the following camera types and options for your property. As with all technological countermeasures each has its own advantages and disadvantages. There is no perfect solution; there is only trade-offs:

  • CCTV (Closed Circuit Television Camera)
    • Traditional option that relies on cameras transmitting signal to dedicated monitor or storage.
    • Usually reliable, but must be monitored or reviewed in order to be effective.
    • Advanced options may have night vision, motion sensors, etc.
  • Wireless System
    • Popular, flexible option for DIY-ers.
    • Integrates seamlessly with smart devices.
    • Range is often limited.
    • Vulnerable to breaching by tech-savvy crooks.
  • Trail Cameras
    • Standalone camera systems that only require power.
    • Ideal for unimproved land or remote deployment.
    • Motion-activated, often have night vision capability.
    • Vulnerable to theft or destruction.
    • Must be checked regularly to access recordings.

Consider the following when replacing your cameras…

If you are trying to get a good image of the trespasser’s face, the camera will likely need to be mounted lower to the ground which generally makes it more noticeable.

Trespassers will oftentimes obscure or damage security cameras with little provocation, so you should make every effort to secure, conceal or camouflage your cameras to prevent destruction and loss of capability.

At any rate, it is possible to positively ID someone based on other elements of their appearance so do not despair entirely just because you do not get a good picture of someone’s face. Clothing, tattoos, and other physical attributes are still helpful when building a case.

One good fundamental to remember when placing cameras is to keep them out of a trespasser’s line of sight along their likely avenue of approach or path of movement while on the property. This way, they are likely to blunder into the camera’s field of view before they notice the presence of the camera.

If you are protecting a developed property, tiny pinhole cameras might work well for close-range applications while staying beneath notice.

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The modern DIY security cameras that integrate with various devices and smartphones as popularized by the Ring series systems have merit and make for a cost-effective and easy-to-set-up system, though these devices are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by tech-savvy criminals.

These wireless cameras are also designed for residential applications and have a short range.

For undeveloped or vacant land, the ideal choice is a trail camera of the kind typically used for photographing animals.

These are the perfect option for all kinds of impromptu surveillance operations since they are triggered by motion, completely self-contained and many even have surprisingly good night vision capability.

Perhaps the only drawback to using a trail camera is that they are fairly obvious unless you take pains to camouflage them. This makes them priority targets for trespassers, and quite a few trespassers on hunting grounds even do so in pursuit of stealing these cameras!

To avoid this you can mount your cameras high up on a tree or other natural feature aimed down towards the ground or secure them to their mounting point using chains or cable, though this will not protect them from destruction.

You must take care to protect your trail cameras since the majority record directly to their own internal memory. That means if you lose the camera you lose your evidence!

Get A Dog

Some dog breeds are better at scaring trespassers away than others, but any dog is better than no dog. Still, if you want to be sure they’ll be effective, consider getting a puppy and training it to deter trespassers.

Hire a Guard to Patrol

When cameras are either not an option or not enough you will have to rely on old-fashioned methods of property protection, namely posting a guard to a static location or on a mobile patrol.

A human being has a major advantage over a camera is that their field of view is not limited to a fixed position or a mechanically limited traversal.

A guard could be posted at the gate or other entrance to undeveloped land even sitting in their vehicle and that could be enough to deter trespassers who enter by or go by that same route of approach.

A uniformed guard patrolling a developed property randomly and at varying times with flashlight and phone in hand will certainly get the message across that the owner is serious about keeping trespassers out.

The attentiveness, ingenuity, and mobility of a human guard is more than adequate to detect and intercept a trespasser, even if all they are doing is attempting to get a photograph of them or their vehicle.

But for all of the advantages a living, breathing guard can give you they do have some limitations.

The effectiveness of a human guard is limited by their motivation and discipline, and attention spans tend to dwindle when tired, stressed, or otherwise distracted.

If you are not the one doing the guarding, this guard will need to be paid, and the longer the guard duty goes on without catching a trespasser the more money you will have to shell out for services.

If you are guarding your own property you will be giving up time spent doing other things, perhaps working profitably, or giving up sleep or recreation time. There is no other way around it.

One big advantage of a human guard is the deterrence factor.

A trespasser or potential trespasser who knows a property is actively guarded is very likely to waive off unless the property is so huge that they think they can give them the slip.

Simply posting a guard in a conspicuous place might be all you need to do for a time in order to squash trespassing on the property.

Rural and undeveloped properties often have raised platforms, stands, or blinds for hunting, and these are excellent observation points to post a human sentry, especially if camouflaged.

Do keep in mind that any free-standing blind or platform is easy to detect, and also makes it easy to observe anyone coming or going, potentially giving the trespasser an edge over your guard.

Another great strategy to employ with a human guard protecting a developed or undeveloped property is to try and trace a trespasser’s back trail in order to find any vehicle that they might be driving.

Getting a description and tag number off of a vehicle in order to identify who it belongs to is a far easier thing than trying to identify a person just off of a photograph even a good one.

This will enable police or other concerned parties to easily get the ball rolling on outing the trespasser.

No matter who is doing the guarding, you or someone else, they must be prepared for a situation to go badly if they do stumble upon the trespasser, surprise them or otherwise confront them, as it is not uncommon for these confrontations to escalate.


Use Drones

The utility and efficacy of drones for all kinds of purposes must not be underestimated and they are especially handy for surveillance operations. This goes double if you are a one-man show or are protecting a property that is very near your home.

Compared to any human a drone has a massive advantage in mobility and optical capability so long as it has a modern camera system aboard. If you have the money, drones can even feature night vision and thermal vision capability that makes them nearly impossible to hide from when outdoors.

You can think of a drone as sort of a mobile security camera with a far greater range of movement and field of view. They are ideal for covering outdoor tracts of land, especially those with little in the way of overhead cover.

Drones are also adaptable to the objectives of property owners since they can fly high-and-quiet or low-and-loud in an effort to scare off trespassers. Everybody knows exactly what drones are capable of these days and their ubiquity in police and security usage means quite a few trespassers will think twice.

The only shortcomings you have with drones is that their flight time is limited as is the range at which they can receive commands.

Also they require a considerable amount of skill to launch and fly effectively and rapidly, to say nothing of maneuvering them in such a way that they’re capable of tracking a moving target or getting into position to get good photographs of someone’s face.

Other shortcomings of drones include their expense and vulnerability to being knocked out of the sky due to collisions with obstacles or hostile action; they are no small investment!

Nonetheless, for landowners and owners of larger developed parcels a drone can save you a considerable amount of energy and hassle when you suspect trespassers are currently on your property.

You don’t need to get out, perform a call out or tramp all around looking for a trespasser who may or may not be there.

You can put the drone up, fly over the property in seconds, check likely points of intrusion for evidence of entry or vehicles that don’t belong there, snap high-definition photographs or take video and then return to base without breaking a sweat.

If you have too much land to effectively cover with cameras, or just don’t want to waste effort on false alarms a drone is an ideal and cost-effective tool to help you start running down trespassers. Consider investing in your own personal Air Force today!

Can You Use Traps to Deter Trespassing?

Generally, no you cannot, although strictly it depends on what you consider to be a trap. Or more importantly, what the law considers to be a trap.

This is a complicated subject with much in the way of nuance, but in short, you may only use minimally harmful, passive traps to deter trespassers, and even these might have laws governing their use. 

For instance, it is generally okay to top a wall or fence with barbed wire or even razor wire in some jurisdictions.

It is legal almost everywhere to plant thorny shrubs, bushes, or hedges that can present a nasty obstacle for the would-be trespasser to cross.

In short, these traps are highly visible, non-active, and can only injure a trespasser or other person by directly disregarding the traps as they are.

Then you have sensory or detection traps, which arguably include things like trail cameras, noisemakers, motion-sensing lights, speaker systems, and more.

Traps that are activated by the intruder’s presence and either alert you to their presence, take a picture of them, or just make the trespasser feel more vulnerable to discovery are almost always okay.

Practically, keep in mind that these traps don’t do much unless you are able to make use of the information that they provide!

And then we have traps that are designed to maim or kill- legitimate booby traps.

Whether purpose-made or improvised, and whatever they were originally designed for, the use of booby traps against human beings for any reason is invariably illegal and almost always a felony.

This could include anything from a remotely activated gun or explosive to something really primitive like a deadfall or conibear trap.

Even traps that are only designed to restrain the victim are illegal when deployed against humans, even trespassers.

Even if you’re dealing with a felonious trespasser, say like a burglar, or even a legitimate case of self-defense in the form of a crazed stalker or someone with a vendetta, booby traps are still never justified.

Anything more than a smoke bomb will probably get you dealt serious criminal charges. If you are forced to use lethal force against such a person in self-defense it must be you, and not a trap, that is doling it out.

I know it is a bitter pill for some people who are forced to deal with perennial and brazen trespassing or worse on their property, and especially around their occupied home, but the law is totally unforgiving in this regard.

Don’t put your future and your family at risk: anything more than barbed wire, alarms or camera traps should be disregarded entirely.

You Have Caught or Recorded Them. Now What?

So thanks to your diligent efforts you have caught sight of the trespasser or recorded them using any number of devices. You have proof that someone is on your land that does not need to be there. What do you do now?

Just because you spotted them does not mean the jig is up. You need to keep them off your land and property.

You will want to identify them if at all possible, but whether or not you can accomplish that you have four basic options:

  • Spread the Word: Use your evidence to put up flyers, posters and notifications around your property, neighborhood and area. The greater an area you canvass the better. Adding photographs of persons and vehicles is ideal. A trespasser who knows he is “wanted” is more likely to stop trespassing for fear of reprisal, one way or another.
  • Notify Neighbors or Adjacent Prop. Owners: Share your findings with your neighbors and friends. This works great in small or rural area since “everyone knows everyone else”, and word is likely to percolate back to the trespasser that trouble is closing in on them.
  • Confront: Tell off and bar the trespasser directly. If you encounter or catch the trespasser in the act, you can notify them that they are trespassing, and bid them leave your property. If you get actionable evidence that turns up a name or address (a vehicle, etc.) you can send a letter of inquiry or notice to that address and see what turns up. Be especially on guard when confronting any trespasser directly!
  • Notify Police: If you are serious about getting rid of trespassers and setting an example to those others who might test you, file criminal charges with the police. This is a good option if you have plenty of evidence, or even a positive I.D. Getting slapped with a “Notice of Trespass” or even misdemeanor criminal charges will likely put an end to a miscreant’s activities.

Before you jump the gun and go in hot and heavy on a trespasser or on suspected trespassing activity, think through your actions.

All you want to do is get people off of your land and off of your property and keep them off, nothing more. This might rub you the wrong way but consider who is doing the trespassing and why, and let that guide your response.

If you just have some kids poking around on your property who aren’t damaging or otherwise destroying anything, and are instead looking for a hangout spot or place to explore deep in the woods, the correct response is probably not to levy charges against them with the police or to threaten them within an inch of their lives if you confront them when caught in the act.

That is only liable to create considerable ill will with parents. After all, who didn’t do any bushwhacking when they were younger?

Using that example, the correct response is probably to post conspicuous signs, and start spreading the word through your social network, and hopefully get the young people yoked up by their parents.

Failing that, canvass your local area according to the steps above. That will likely get the kids to give it up. If that fails, then escalate.

If the activity is more serious, something like poaching, for instance, the direct approach is probably better.

If you have a positive ID you should definitely confront the person directly with a letter, tell them to stop their illegal activity and stop trespassing on your property, and then let them know politely but firmly that you will be prepared to employ legal ramifications if they continue or do it again.

If you don’t have a positive ID canvas your immediate property as described above so hopefully they will learn that you are on to them and perhaps give it up before things get worse.

In case you were dealing with some serious trespassing that is a harbinger of worse activity to come, something like stalking, you can afford to take no chances. Do not confront this person directly if you can avoid it, and if you do be prepared for violence.

Always take your findings to the police, and then follow up with the appropriate action after you file trespassing charges. Get a restraining order, conduct a thorough security sweep of your property and your lifestyle, and prepare any family members according.

Instances like this can be scary, drawn out, and exhausting. In this case, trespassing is usually a prelude to a worse crime.

catching a trespasser pinterest image

4 thoughts on “How To Scare a Trespasser Away (6 Action Steps)”

  1. Trust me, I hate trespassers too!….. But, if any of us think we truly own our land,,,we are sadly mistaken. Just try and not pay your property taxes,,,you will find out who truly owns your property. We are mere serfs in the Kingdom that are allowed to rent {pay taxes to use} our land. Don’t believe me, wait until they want to put a new school, or interstate across your property,,,,,,,you will see who really owns it. Or, don’t pay your taxes……….or leave a parts pickup truck or a chicken coop that isn’t permitted, or, or, or,…………..We are given the illusion of ownership, but when it really comes down to it, we still rent from the Kingdom. Michael

  2. Thank you. I really enjoyed your article. Got the ol’ brains working and it confirms the types of criminals that could be coming around my place.
    Years ago, when I went and sat on my front porch, things calmed right down. Then, later on, installed stuffed, life-sized bodies in regilar attire in outdoor-style chairs in the right spots with each season’s required clothing and laminated photos of our faces attached. The next step has been to post yellow Posted signs, no stopping/idling, drug dealing, hanging out, poaching, etc. Clearing areas of brush, etc. where word someone has seen someone hanging out after dark has come. Watching for an automated fishing pole with a rag on the end, at and after dusk up until just at the crack of dawn. That is, amongst other things. And looking for drones by certain of the culprits. Ensuring that all trails leading away from the home are not blocked by wires I didn’t put there or other objects as I obviously ticked one of them off with the installation of dealer-authorized (a locksmith in my area) only Medeco deadbolts and padlocks on the doors of all buildings with hinges that the pins couldn’t be removed, lol, and they want to get back at me I suppose. Getting up signs is easy, locating and examining trails is equally so, and setting up thieves is pretty easy, too. Drill a hole and insert chain through stack of plywood, chain secured into ground if possible. Light area at night as well. Utilise a good Android phone’s recorder, through every window, including the one that sees the driveway and walkway. Setups are not so hard to do, not for thieves. Just install the chain on the end farthest away from where the rear end of their vehicle will be when they back in to the throw the plywood in their back end. Forget the GoPro and go with Android. A little anti-shatter film works wonders for 20 to 30 minutes after a good hit to windows, by then, most burglars are gone. Driveway alarms where they pass an unseen laser may also help.

  3. Ronald Vaughan

    What about churches? There’s a Supreme Court decision from 2004 that’s case law (Fifth Ave.Presbyterian v. NYC Police Dept.) This applies to ALL churches inside the USA. Says churches MUST invite homeless people to stay…Recently though,I saw a church in Beverly Hills where some asshole put up “No Trespassing” signs….at FOOT level (not eye level). Think she wants to scare bums away….This is NOT the way to properly do that!!

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