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Harrassing, Unstable Neighbors

Criminal Law Discussion Forum

Harrassing, Unstable Neighbors

Postby Benjimen » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:53 pm

Missouri case. The couple next door, childless and in their late 30s, are harassing my family to within inches of mine and especially my wife's sanity. We can't let the kids play outside without direct supervision, we have to carry voice recorders at all times, and we keep a video camera within reach from the deck if we go out in the back yard at all.

Brief history: We bought the house late last year. I made a point of introducing myself to the neighbors. We got along OK, though they were definitely odd -- they had weird complaints about the previous owner, regarding drainage, fencing, things that made little sense. They wanted me to go dutch on this, that, and the other, things that weren't needed. One of them claimed to be a dog trainer and has agility course set up in the back, but one of their two shepherds was extremely dog aggressive. Our dog's initial greeting to the yard was a frenzy of barking and teeth across the chain link fence, and since then our and their dogs could not be outside at the same time.

Fast forward a few months. The neighbors have routed their gutter downspouts through a PVC pipe that ends in a J section pointed right through the chain link into our yard. Nonetheless, one day the building inspector shows up. He's had a call from the neighbor. Finds no construction, no issues, leaves. Two weeks later, another inspector, this time for drainage issues. Finds no problem. My wife sees one of them throwing rocks at our dog, but doesn't grab the camera in time. I see one of them duck out from behind a section of privacy fence on their side and pepper spray our dog. Again, too quick for the camera. The dog is completely antagonized at this point and can't see these people without going ballistic. She's now an indoor dog, leash only outside, even in our own, fenced yard she'd had the run of for months with no problems.

Next week, I'm out running errands, and my wife calls me in tears. Kids are crying in the background. The lady next door had launched into a psychotic tirade at the top of her lungs, f-bombs, they're going to kill our dog, b***, wh***, etc. The, she had called the cops. I talked to the officer, he said just let it go. Two days later, same thing. Wife calls me in tears. This time, she's called the cops. They had told her the lady was evidently unstable and advised my wife to keep her cool and not respond. I went outside on our deck, and sure enough, there she is. I asked if there was a problem. Her husband came out, and they both proceeded to shower me with profanity and mockery. I caught the last half of it on audio tape. Then, they called the cops and accused me of harassment.

The same officer returned who'd been there earlier the same time, and by this time she'd caught on. She advised us both not to respond, so for the last month or so we've just turned our backs on the neighbors. The reward has been more abuse. They come outside each and every time we open the door. They talk about us just loudly enough that we can hear. They watch our every move from their deck, all day. They post print-outs from the Web just across from the chain link fence with profanities -- a***hole, b***h, where the kids can see them. They throw comments across the fence at odd intervals, too quickly for us to catch on tape. They watch our kids playing in the front from behind the hedge that divides our front lots. We finally got fed up, and after talking to the desk sergeant we filed a complaint based on the one audio tape I had. The very next night, the same neighbors made a harassment call on us after we'd endured their taunts, photographing the kids, etc., for a full two hours. When the cops showed up, they had their opportunity to serve the warrant, and the neighbors were arrested.

Since then, they've done their best to appear as sinister as possible. One of them tried to take out an ex parte restraining order on my wife(denied), three days after she and her husband removed the existing privacy fence between our properties. An officer who is assigned to neighborhood issues is investigating and sympathizes with us, but can't offer any immediate relief unless these people do something clearly criminal or threaten to kill us. The local patrols have orders to roll by our street at every opportunity, and I see patrols parked across the street at night. That helps, but it does not make the environment outside any less toxic for us. It takes all my effort not to walk over to the fence, every minute of every day, and grab these people by the earsto teach them respect the old-fashioned way. My wife is a mess from the constant taunts and worrying about the kids.

Short of filing a difficult and dicey civil suit, what can law enforcement and the criminal justice system do to help us?
Benjimen
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:56 am

Harrassing, Unstable Neighbors

Postby Sulyen » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:58 am

Missouri case. The couple next door, childless and in their late 30s, are harassing my family to within inches of mine and especially my wife's sanity. We can't let the kids play outside without direct supervision, we have to carry voice recorders at all times, and we keep a video camera within reach from the deck if we go out in the back yard at all.

Brief history: We bought the house late last year. I made a point of introducing myself to the neighbors. We got along OK, though they were definitely odd -- they had weird complaints about the previous owner, regarding drainage, fencing, things that made little sense. They wanted me to go dutch on this, that, and the other, things that weren't needed. One of them claimed to be a dog trainer and has agility course set up in the back, but one of their two shepherds was extremely dog aggressive. Our dog's initial greeting to the yard was a frenzy of barking and teeth across the chain link fence, and since then our and their dogs could not be outside at the same time.

Fast forward a few months. The neighbors have routed their gutter downspouts through a PVC pipe that ends in a J section pointed right through the chain link into our yard. Nonetheless, one day the building inspector shows up. He's had a call from the neighbor. Finds no construction, no issues, leaves. Two weeks later, another inspector, this time for drainage issues. Finds no problem. My wife sees one of them throwing rocks at our dog, but doesn't grab the camera in time. I see one of them duck out from behind a section of privacy fence on their side and pepper spray our dog. Again, too quick for the camera. The dog is completely antagonized at this point and can't see these people without going ballistic. She's now an indoor dog, leash only outside, even in our own, fenced yard she'd had the run of for months with no problems.

Next week, I'm out running errands, and my wife calls me in tears. Kids are crying in the background. The lady next door had launched into a psychotic tirade at the top of her lungs, f-bombs, they're going to kill our dog, b***, wh***, etc. The, she had called the cops. I talked to the officer, he said just let it go. Two days later, same thing. Wife calls me in tears. This time, she's called the cops. They had told her the lady was evidently unstable and advised my wife to keep her cool and not respond. I went outside on our deck, and sure enough, there she is. I asked if there was a problem. Her husband came out, and they both proceeded to shower me with profanity and mockery. I caught the last half of it on audio tape. Then, they called the cops and accused me of harassment.

The same officer returned who'd been there earlier the same time, and by this time she'd caught on. She advised us both not to respond, so for the last month or so we've just turned our backs on the neighbors. The reward has been more abuse. They come outside each and every time we open the door. They talk about us just loudly enough that we can hear. They watch our every move from their deck, all day. They post print-outs from the Web just across from the chain link fence with profanities -- a***hole, b***h, where the kids can see them. They throw comments across the fence at odd intervals, too quickly for us to catch on tape. They watch our kids playing in the front from behind the hedge that divides our front lots. We finally got fed up, and after talking to the desk sergeant we filed a complaint based on the one audio tape I had. The very next night, the same neighbors made a harassment call on us after we'd endured their taunts, photographing the kids, etc., for a full two hours. When the cops showed up, they had their opportunity to serve the warrant, and the neighbors were arrested.

Since then, they've done their best to appear as sinister as possible. One of them tried to take out an ex parte restraining order on my wife(denied), three days after she and her husband removed the existing privacy fence between our properties. An officer who is assigned to neighborhood issues is investigating and sympathizes with us, but can't offer any immediate relief unless these people do something clearly criminal or threaten to kill us. The local patrols have orders to roll by our street at every opportunity, and I see patrols parked across the street at night. That helps, but it does not make the environment outside any less toxic for us. It takes all my effort not to walk over to the fence, every minute of every day, and grab these people by the earsto teach them respect the old-fashioned way. My wife is a mess from the constant taunts and worrying about the kids.

Short of filing a difficult and dicey civil suit, what can law enforcement and the criminal justice system do to help us?
Sulyen
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:03 pm

Harrassing, Unstable Neighbors

Postby Fonzo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:30 pm

Ian,

I wish i could give you good news but the answer is pretty much what your local police have told you.  These neighbor issues occur very frequently and are very frustrating for everyone particularly your family. You also take on a huge amount of frustration and worry over trying to protect your family and controlling your own emotions.  Good luck, you are doing a great job so far.  If you have read some of the prior questions on this board you will see you are not the only one suffering from this. It appears that the local police have a pretty good understanding of the dynamics and are working with you.

Some additional considerations-

Do any of your neighbors have any input into what is going on ?

Did the prior owners move because of this ?

Next time you talk with the police ask if they have or can get better audio video equipment that can be installed?

If they can't do a little shopping abound there are some fairly inexpensive digital A/V recorders that can be acquired.

Contact a local attorney for a consultation, make sure they have dealt with situations similar. You may be pushed into a protection order, cease and desist action, etc.  At least the attorney can give you some advise outside of the criminal area.

Good Luck

Robin
Fonzo
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:38 pm


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