A Guide to Catching Trespassers – And Not Get Into Trouble

If you are anything like me, you want to keep your property strictly your property. The idea that someone would steal from you probably sets your blood to boiling, and even the notion that someone might trespass upon your land or some other parcel you own is liable to get you seething with anger.

Your things belong to you, and no one else, and if someone does not have your explicit permission or legal justification then they flat-out shouldn’t be there.

no Trespassing sign on fence

Beyond that, trespassing is not just a breach of etiquette: A trespasser on your land might be committing other crimes, taking from you in some other way, or even just subjecting you to unwanted liability thanks to today’s increasingly sick and corrupt justice system.

Someone out for a pleasure stroll that falls and breaks a leg, or rolls an ankle on your property might see you sued for their injury even though they never should have been there in the first place!

The bottom line is that you, me, and everyone else who owns property has a right and indeed an incentive to keep trespassers off of our lands, and out of our developments.

This is definitely the correct course of action, but it isn’t that easy. If you only have yourself to rely on or, hopefully, a few trusted friends and family members you still cannot be everywhere at once on the lookout for interlopers.

Trespassers might be coming and going freely, treating your holdings as their own with not so much as a “thank you” or “kiss my ass”. You are going to need to step your game up and get clever if you want to deter them from entering your property, much less catch them in the act.

Lucky for you in today’s article I will be sharing a boatload of information that will help you do just that.

Property Types: Residential, Commercial, Land

No matter what kind of property you own, it stands to reason that you don’t want any trespassers anywhere, on any of it, at any time. This is reasonable, but you should strive to understand that you do not protect all kinds of property in the same way.

Keeping trespassers off of a residential lot, your actual home, entails some different countermeasures and a different approach than keeping them off of an improved property like a parking lot or even unimproved property like some pristine hunting land.

The most obvious thing to consider is the size, perimeter and layout of a given piece of property. Unless you are Daddy Warbucks living in the middle of a gargantuan estate with surrounding grounds chances are you can see the entire perimeter of the parcel your home is situated on.

The same might even be true for certain commercial properties or improved plots of land. You probably cannot say the same thing for an undeveloped tract of land that is larger than several acres, or that has line-of-sight blocking vegetation on it, or other terrain features that provide cover for people to move around on it stealthily.

The type of property and where it is located will also affect your strategy, as well as the trespasser’s strategy for gaining access and moving around on it.

Commercial buildings and any other kind of structure along with certain types of improved property are better suited to the implementation of access-blocking obstacles like fences, walls, gates, and even vehicle-specific obstructions like tire spikes, bollards and a huge concrete “flower pots”.

This is not to say you cannot protect and should not attempt to protect large tracts of land or other unimproved properties but they will present unique challenges, challenges you will have to overcome if you want to keep your property limited to your access only.

In the remainder of this article I will furnish you tips, tactics and procedures along with helpful equipment they can help you run off potential trespassers and gather evidence on those who should face prosecution.

But before we do that, we must investigate and understand the actions of trespassers and what their motivations are. Only by working backward from their goals can we inform our own strategy.

Trespasser Motivation and Mindset

When I advise people to try and get inside a trespasser’s head and understand what they are thinking and why they are doing things they’re doing, this is not intended as some “pop psychology” exercise to help you better understand the mind of a criminal or a miscreant.

I don’t know what happened in their life to inform their decision that trespassing upon property they don’t own is okay, excusable for acceptable behavior. Frankly, I do not care! What I do care about is their practical motivation, and so should you.

When I say practical motivation I am talking about the thing they are after: why have they trespassed? What do they seek to obtain or do? Motivations of trespassers can run the gamut from harmless-if-illicit holiday to monstrously foreboding.

Some interlopers trespass in service of committing an even greater crime. There is just no way to know until they are confronted, and even then they are apt to lie.

If you have some evidence of trespassing already, be it a report from a witness, neighbor or some other bystander, or perhaps you discover evidence of illegal entry such as track, trace, vandalism or theft, you’ll probably already have a decent understanding of why someone is there when you view it in the context of what kind of property you have.

Why People Trespass

Here are just a few common potential reasons for why someone might choose to trespass:

Loitering / Hangout

The constant concern of anyone who owns a commercial property like a strip mall, a parking lot or any parcel with an abandoned building on it and sometimes even vacant land that is in a convenient and out-of-the-way place.

Typically, the province of young people who see an unused patch of land or empty building as a perfect spot for hanging out, throwing a party or generally goofing off, ownership be damned.

Usually not harmful in a greater sense, but property destruction in the form of vandalism and litter is a constant.

Hiking and Nature Worshipping

Another fairly innocent form of trespassing where people out for a hike or stroll in nature either knowingly or unknowingly cross onto your property.

Other nature lover types, bird watchers, wildlife seekers and others who like to get away from it all are also apt to trespass. I can at least sympathize with their motivations, but the bottom line is they should not be there without your permission!

This is especially common as you might expect for owners of large and pristine parcels of land and is typically encountered when a commonly used trail sees one portion of it change ownership, leading to inadvertent trespassing.

Exploration and Amateur Archaeology

For hundreds of archaeologists and lovers of interesting geological formations, landscapes and ancient buildings or other installations, sometimes civil matters like “getting permission to enter someone else’s property” and “common courtesy” are overshadowed by their curiosity and the thrill of finding a new specimen to examine.

If your property is located near an ancient battle ground or settlement, or has an interesting old house or barn on it, you will certainly get the occasional trespasser who is snooping around just to get a look, and perhaps a small souvenir.


Here begins the category of trespassing where it is just a prelude to a more severe crime.

Poachers are illegal hunters, those who will take game that does not belong to them, or take it out of season. They might also be looking for game in the form of shed antlers from deer, elk or moose, or pelts that they can harvest with their illegally placed traps.

Poaching is a fairly serious crime and since you can bet that they will almost certainly be armed you must approach dealing with a suspected poacher or poachers with caution and diligence.


Any person who develops an unhealthy personal or professional infatuation with you or your family and your family’s holdings is liable to start snooping around where they don’t belong, and that includes your workplace, your home and any other holdings that they can find.

They might do this simply to annoy, intimidate or aggravate you, or they might do it in order to set up an ambush. Either way, it is never good and this is definitely a scarier form of trespassing to deal with.


Those who deal in illegal goods and services always need a discrete and out-of-the-way place to conduct business, including manufacturer and transport.

If you have unimproved property that is little used or vacant or a large tract of land that is seldom visited or traveled it is far from out of the question that you could one day find an illegal growing operation or a highway used for the smuggling of goods.

You have officially entered the “serious business” category and most definitely should get law enforcement involved if you know what is good for you.

As you can see, a trespasser’s motivation can run the gamut anywhere from the relatively benign to outright criminal Intent and even malicious evil. Obviously, no matter who they are and why they are there you want them gone but their activity should inform your response if you are prudent.

Cracking down on some trespassing kids that are acting troublesome is a far different thing from confronting a pair of dedicated poachers.

But you must remember this one thing: No matter who is trespassing, chances are they know that what they are doing is illegal, and if they are willing to commit one illegal act they might be willing to commit others, especially intimidating or silencing a possible witness to their misdeeds.

We will get into that a little bit later, but for now we can be satisfied that since we have figured out our trespasser’s general motivation we can formulate an effective plan to deter them.

Analyzing Your Property’s Vulnerabilities

In this step, you are going to put on your protective agent hat and look at your property with a critical eye in order to determine where a trespasser is gaining access, where they are approaching and departing the property from, and what route they are traveling while on your property.

Depending on the size, type and location of your property, you might decide this is a step that is so simple, it is hardly worth thinking about, but don’t neglect it!

Even if the entry point is something as cut-and-dry as them literally stepping onto your property off of a neighboring one, that is information you will use to formulate your counter strategy. Take this seriously!

Take a look at the following considerations and apply them to your property to start coming up with a likely course of action that you’re trespassers are employing. Remember, think like you are the trespasser and you’ll probably be surprised how good your assessments are:

Mode of Travel

How are the trespassers getting to your property? Are they walking onto it from nearby? Are they driving on to it or into it? Are they parking nearby and then walking the rest of the way?

Figuring this out will inform what the most likely access points are, and where you should stage or install some of your countermeasures. Once again, the type of property you are trying to protect is probably going to dictate their mode of travel.

If you have an undeveloped parcel of land that has logging roads, easements or even just a dirt trail running to or through it you can probably count on a trespasser taking their vehicle as close to it as they can.

If your property does not have any roads or any vehicle accessible pathway they have probably parked somewhere along the nearest road before walking in.

Also, do not discount the idea that a neighbor’s property may be made available to a trespasser. I have seen that before; your neighbor could be offering a staging area for the interloper!

If you have a developed or improved property like a commercial building, industrial site, or even just a parking lot or parking garage it is highly likely that trespassers can drive right onto it and indeed that might be their whole reason for being there.

Barricades that will help the movement of vehicles will probably help in this regard, but will do nothing to prevent the trespasser from parking just beyond them or adjacent to your property and then walking on in the absence of fences, walls and other obstructions. Also any property in a built-up area will probably have easy walking access thanks to sidewalks.

Ask yourself this: if you were going to enter that property how would you do it? How would you get there? Chances are the trespassers are doing the exact same thing.

Access Point

The access point of the property is the precise place by which a trespasser gains access.

Understand that the entire property might be completely unsecured and can be accessed at any point, but even so a trespasser will usually choose the point that affords them the greatest advantage; the easiest access, the most concealment from observation and the best chance of escape if confronted.

If you have an unimproved parcel of land this could take the form of a low, missing or broken section of fence, an open gate or a shallow crossing through a creek.

For any kind of improved property or structure it will likely be an unlocked or missing window, breached door or something else like a basement access grate/window or ladder to the roof.

Also keep in mind that certain “defenses” simply aren’t much good: a single bar lifter-gate can be easily bypassed on foot, or even lifted right off the hinge to let vehicles in.

Determining the preferred or primary access point of trespassers will give you a leg up when it comes to confronting or catching them and will also be your number one priority when it comes to shoring up physical defenses or placing countermeasures. Remember that people are typically creatures of habit and are also shockingly lazy.

That being said most people that are committing illegal acts show some concern for not getting caught and that means they will place a high preference for access points that are concealed or afford the fewest potential observers.

You ever notice how when you turn on the lights in your kitchen at night that the roaches, if they are present, go scurrying for cover? It is the same thing with trespassers.

If you make them feel uncomfortable, likely to be spotted or sure of discovery they will probably give up entirely and book it.

Potential Outside Assets

While it is solely your responsibility to keep trespassers off of your property, you might be able to make use of external assets in the form of potential witnesses, neighboring security cameras adjacent to and near your property, or even security personnel or law enforcement along probable routes of ingress and egress.

Your primary objective is to get a positive ID on a trespasser in the form of multiple photographs, especially of their face, and body shots of clothing, tattoos and other identifying characteristics.

If you know where they are arriving from and where they’re likely to depart from, you can start putting a pattern together in the case of repeat offenders, increasing the chances that you or someone else will remember a specific person or specific vehicle.

Your chances increase further if there are limited ways to approach your property, be it in an urban or suburban setting, or a rural one.

There is no identifying characteristic, feature or coincidence that is not worthwhile! Ask anybody and everybody that you can if they have any knowledge of any unusual activity, comings and goings or other information that can help you bust a trespasser.

Your neighbors and other nearby residents and property owners might be valuable assets in your fight to eliminate trespassing.

Determine What You Want to Achieve

I don’t want you to think I’m being redundant; you definitely want the trespassers off of your property no matter what they are doing there. That is of course the ultimate goal, but what I am referring to is what you hope to achieve by instituting your countermeasures.

This is informed by what kind of property you have and what kind of trespassers you are dealing with. The goal is to get rid of the trespassers; so how do we achieve that?

As the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and so there is definitely more than one way to run off trespassers.

You can give them incentive to stay away, you can increase the pressure on them so they fear discovery, or you can involve the police or other authorities and then they will be facing genuine legal consequences.

Think it through: you don’t have to confront every trespasser and you might not even have to post any signs or other security implements.

There is a certain type of trespasser or potential trespasser who will in fact obey a sign that states no trespassing or entry forbidden. Maybe they know the law and know they can face a stiffer charge if a property is posted against trespassing and they trespass anyway. You might be able to deter them by spreading the word in the form of posting flyers with photographic evidence or wanted information for trespassers.

You can hit your social network hard and to make sure that word gets around you are on the hunt for trespassers and plan on prosecuting. Especially in small towns, word travels fast and everyone listens to everybody else, meaning your trespasser might get the message.

Some trespassers are inveterate criminals, and you will have to get hard evidence of their activity and then turn it over to the police to solve your problem.

The point of all that explanation is that you should not assume every solution to trespassing is one-size-fits-all. I would not expect you to approach the problem of getting rid of mischievous kids and litterbugs the same way you would drug runners, or somebody who is stalking your family.

Consider all your options, and apply the remedy that best fits the problem. Remember, you can always escalate but if you go in too hard it is tough to back off, especially once the law is involved!

With a little bit of forethought and understanding of all the variables I’m confident that you can get rid of your trespassers no matter what the circumstances are.

Legality and Your Responsibilities as a Property Owner

Okay, time for the part of the article that nobody likes, but absolutely everybody needs to read. It is imperative that you read and understand the law, and also understand your rights and responsibilities under the law as a property owner, before you take any action against trespassers.

I know that sounds like the dumbest thing in the world- after all, it’s your property and they shouldn’t be on it without your permission, case closed- but thanks to this corrupted and wasted world we live in it isn’t that simple.

Every state has its own laws concerning trespassing, and its own requirements of property owners regarding what if anything they need to post on or around their properties that forbids trespassers from entering.

One thing you definitely need to keep in mind: In a vast majority of states and municipalities trespassing is a lesser crime, most often a misdemeanor and sometimes just a civil violation.

That means you need to strongly curb any desire you might have toward violence or retribution when it comes to evicting trespassers.

This is not a uniform standard (and again you must closely investigate your own state’s laws) but typical trespassing law for vacant land often requires posted signs or conspicuous markings on fence posts or trees at certain intervals around the perimeter of a property for trespassing law to apply at all.

That means if you fail to post on your unimproved property and someone traipses into it for any reason they are not immediately guilty of trespassing.

A person must have notice against trespassing before trespassing law applies, typically one of the following:

  • Conspicuously posted signs that a reasonable person would have seen and chose instead to ignore.
  • Specific colored markings placed on trees or posts around the perimeter of the property.
  • Direct verbal or written notification forbidding access.

Improved properties and structures are different, and typically anybody who does not have permission or explicit authorization to enter a structure they do not own and does so against the wishes of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent is guilty of trespassing, but not necessarily something felonious like breaking and entering or forcible entry.

Why is this important for you? Again, it boils down to how much force you can use to get rid of trespassers and in almost all circumstances (absent force being used against you first) the answer is essentially none.

The default response to trespassing in the eyes of the law is to officially “trespass” someone upon contact with law enforcement, meaning they will be barred from returning to the property under threat of arrest. If you are actually able to press trespassing charges, they will be facing a misdemeanor most times.

If you choose to confront someone who is trespassing on your property you must be cautious. You must actually be double-cautious.

First, a trespasser is still a criminal and if they are trespassing in pursuit of another criminal objective they might be willing to intimidate you, hurt you or even kill you to cover up their crimes.

Maybe they are wanted already and that minor, almost meaningless, contact with authorities could be the thing that sends them back to prison. Don’t think somebody wouldn’t kill over that? Think again.

Second, you have to watch how you act and what you say to a trespasser if you confront them. If you come off as loud, belligerent and obnoxious it is easy to read that as “physically threatening”.

Also, don’t think you’ll be able to menace someone with a gun, either, just because they are on your land.

Considering that your trespasser is probably only guilty of a misdemeanor you have no right to use force against them from the outset and that means they might actually be able to tag you with assault charges or worse.

Also, remind yourself that someone who is trespassing in order to poach or engage in some other criminal enterprise is very likely to be armed.

You still have to be on your toes and be ready to defend yourself, but you cannot be the person who instigates the confrontation or you’ll be the aggressor, and that means the law will be coming down on you in their place.

No matter how bad it rankles you, keep your cool, maintain your demeanor and do this by the book so you can achieve a good outcome. Leave the bravado and the belligerence behind where it belongs.

Tools for Stopping Trespassers

The following section contains all the tools you need to help deter, catch and identify trespassers. You might use one or two in tandem or you might use all of them depending on your property’s specifics and your unique situation. I will go over the pros and the cons, the good and the bad for each of them and their respective sections.


You might want to brush off signs as the least effective deterrent mechanism available to you or just some onerous requirement so you are within the letter of the law.

You are only half correct. It is true that signs are so often mandated when it comes to posting your property against trespassing no matter where you live but they can function as an effective deterrent if you put a little strategy into it.

Before we get into that part, let me explain how a “no trespassing” sign must typically be formatted for it to have the force of law behind it. Once again, you must thoroughly read and understand your state and local laws so you can abide by them.

Generally speaking, any “no trespassing” sign must be of a certain size with specific verbiage printed on it to meet the requirements of your state’s statutes on trespassing.

Oftentimes text that reads “no trespassing” or “posted: no trespassing” is sufficient, but sometimes a generalization is allowable and other times it must quote the specific state statute in smaller print at the bottom or even list the contact info of the person who owns the property in question

Regarding placement of the signs, as a rule they will need to be posted at all four corners of an unimproved property or every entrance of an improved property.

For vacant land or unimproved parcels they will also have to be posted at specific intervals, usually every so many hundred feet or yards. This eliminates a trespasser’s typical excuse that they didn’t see a sign.

Also consider signs that have other strategic value besides notifying potential trespassers that their entry is forbidden.

Signs that will inform intruders that “recording is in progress”, that the “property is patrolled”, “surveillance cameras are in operation” and so forth can definitely make them think twice about entering the property. After all, maybe you are bluffing, but maybe not! Hopefully not…

But I will caution you: One thing you must never, ever do is post some novelty sign that threatens violence against trespassers!

“We don’t dial 911”, “trespassers will be shot and survivors will be shot again”, “I have 40 acres and a shovel- ask yourself if you should be here” and other such tripe is suitable only for hanging in a clubhouse or locker room, not in a public place where it can be taken seriously!

I will personally guarantee you it will be used against you as evidence of premeditation in a court of law if, God forbid, you do confront a trespasser, and wind up in a self-defense situation.

One last thing, you have to keep your signs in good shape as they will be worn away to illegibility by weather and exposure as well as targeted for destruction or removal by vandals and trespassers themselves.

It is not out of the question that the absence of a few signs could spoil any potential charges you want to bring against trespassers, so stay on top of them and keep them in good shape.


Markings function very much like signs in most states in that they are required (if signs are not posted) on vacant land to let people know that trespassing is forbidden. They may be placed on trees or posts erected for the purpose.

A typical “no trespassing” mark is made with high visibility purple paint and is usually a vertical line that is several inches wide and about a foot long placed between 3 and 6 feet off the ground so it is visible about eye level.

Like signs they must be made at specific intervals for your “no trespassing” notice to have the force of law behind it and it is not uncommon for that interval to be somewhat more frequent than that used for signage- markings have slightly reduced visibility compared to signs.

Markings may also be specifically required near or along the shores of any body of water that transects your property.

Also note that these markings are usually only required and valid for unimproved, vacant land, not improved parcels or structures of any kind.

Guards, Sentries and Watchmen

There is hardly a better asset that you can employ when it comes to routing trespassers than a human guard. A living, breathing and hopefully thinking human being has the mobility, ingenuity and cleverness to spot or even track trespassers wherever and however they try to get onto your property.

Statistically, a human guard is far more effective than any other countermeasure you might employ when it comes to keeping unauthorized people away from it and off of your property.

You can employ a guard in several different ways, either in the capacity of a fixed position (such as an observation post, guard booth or standing post), one who does regular patrols at prescribed times or intervals or as a constantly mobile patrol that is hard to predict.

You might even employ a guard as a hidden observer in an effort to get photographic evidence of trespassers for later prosecution.

But, people are not robots, and that means they are flawed. A human guard is only as good as their training, senses and motivation.

They, like you, are also only able to be in one place at a time which means that any area that is out of sight and out of earshot is effectively unguarded and unwatched, unless you have backup security systems in that location.

A human guard’s effectiveness is directly proportional to how fatigued they are, and even the best of us are notorious for falling asleep when sitting in a quiet location alone and running low on energy.

The biggest drawback with guards is their required logistics train. Any professional guard that you hire will require a salary, and the longer they are in your employ the more you will have to pay, obviously.

A friend or relative who is motivated to help you will probably start out strong, but their efficacy will degrade over time, especially when there is little action or movement.

You can even guard your property yourself, but this means that your time spent “pushing a post” is not being spent doing anything else like working, family time or hobby time.

When it comes to protecting a structure for improved property consider installing a small guard hut or even utilizing a conspicuously marked security vehicle that the guard can remain in when not making the rounds.

A guard that looks like a guard is one of the single best deterrents for any property, so don’t worry about concealing them or hiding their presence unless you have a special objective.

On rural or unimproved properties, a raised platform or hunting blind makes an excellent observation post, increasing the guard’s line-of-sight and likelihood that they will spot any intruders.

Do keep in mind that freestanding OPs are very easy to spot and a suspicious trespasser is likely to detect the presence of the guard in one and then avoid them.

If you decide to guard your own property in shifts or periodically, or you conscript someone else to help you, the guard must be prepared for actual contact with a trespasser, and everything that entails.

Violence is never out of the question, but they have to be trained so they do not overreact to the situation.

security camera mounted on exterior house wall
security camera mounted on exterior house wall


Cameras are an excellent and often used tools for deterring trespassers while simultaneously gathering the evidence and information needed to prosecute them if it comes down to it.

We are fortunate since we live in a time where off-the-shelf and professionally installed camera systems are available to fit any budget, any application and in any environment. Truly, you are now without excuse when it comes to installing cameras! Anything goes!

Having this much variety is great, but choosing the right camera system as well as supplemental cameras for your property and your specific circumstances is important to getting good results.

Generally, you can narrow down suitable camera systems into one of three categories. Each has pros and cons and I’ll tell you about them just below:

  • Trail cameras
  • Wireless camera systems
  • Closed-circuit cameras, or CCTV

Trail cameras are probably familiar to any of the hunters in our audience, as they are commonly employed to monitor suspected game trails, migration paths, feeding locations, waterholes, and other points of interest to wildlife in order to discern both the quantity and the quality of game for the upcoming season.

These devices are typically completely self-contained with a power supply, storage device, flash (if required) and even night vision capability, all housed within a sturdy, weatherproof container.

Trail cameras can be mounted almost anywhere, and will snap a picture or record video of anything that activates within their range, typically adjustable via sensor.

These are a spectacular option for setting up a monitoring network of cameras on unimproved land, but they do have some disadvantages in that they are easy to destroy or steal if they are mounted low to the ground and they must be checked regularly in order to access their recordings and keep their power supply topped off.

Wireless camera systems are extremely popular in our day, and are available in off-the-shelf and DIY friendly formats from all kinds of department and hardware stores.

Doorbell cameras, aimable camera pods, and even motion sensors can all be seamlessly integrated with a home network or even made cloud-accessible, all controlled from your smart device of choice.

If you need a comprehensive system for any structure or residence, these make a good option that is affordable and increasingly high performance, but they do have some drawbacks when it comes to security and criminals with a little bit of technological acumen can take control of the cameras and turn them against you, using them to spy inside your home or property.

Lastly, traditional CCTV, or closed-circuit television cameras, are the long-running standby choice and today are either hardwired or wireless systems that feed their signal back to a dedicated monitoring station or storage device for later review.

They might have advanced technology embedded like night-vision or motion detection, but typically their biggest drawbacks are the cost of installation, their total dependence on dedicated power, and necessity of having the monitoring station constantly manned if you want to catch someone in the act barring any specialized sensors or alarms.

No matter what kind of cameras you are placing, you need to employ a little bit of strategy in order to get the best results.

Visible cameras definitely serve as a deterrent, but if the intruder can see the camera they might possibly be able to maneuver around it, or pass through a blind spot.

If you are serious about catching someone on camera in the act hide the camera so that it is out of sight until they walk through its field of view.

Trespassers Confronted - Guy THREATEN Me (Cops Called)

Dealing With a Trespasser

With some hard work, clever strategizing and an actionable plan you have evidence that a trespasser has been on your property, either photographic, video or just your two eyes that God gave you. Well done! But what do you do now?

Well, just because you spotted them does not mean your troubles are over, though if a trespasser who lacks courage knows they were spotted they may never return.

No, what you must plan on doing is putting pressure on the trespasser and any other potential trespassers using your findings. What does that mean?

You have a couple of different options.

Contact Police/Press Charges

If you are dealing with serious criminal activity that is only being enabled by the trespassing you should probably go to the police, but this is also an option for repeat offenders who show no sign of remorse or stopping.

Creating a case will hopefully get the person brought to heel and punished, but you also need to be prepared for any follow-up action, such as the procurement of restraining orders, attending court dates and other activities that are inherent to the process.

You cannot let your guard down just because you pressed charges, but this will typically spell the end of most intruders’ illegal comings and goings.

Network with Neighbors

If you have any actionable intelligence, such as a photograph of a face, a vehicle or any other damning visual evidence make sure you share it with everyone you know, far and wide. Make posts on social media, ask your friends to share it, get the word out to anyone and everyone.

This strategy works especially well in areas of low population density since word travels fast and people lack the anonymity that they typically enjoy in large cities.

The potential damage to someone’s reputation and subsequent loss of personal relationships will often be enough to completely snuff out the trespassing.

Post Notices and Pictures

If you still aren’t quite sure who you are dealing with, but have some photographic evidence of the activity, even if it is not conclusive, print it up on posters and flyers to be distributed around the perimeter of your property near your “no trespassing” signs, and also around town in public forums and on bulletin boards where appropriate.

The larger the area you wallpaper with your flyers the better, as you want people to know that you take trespassing on your property very seriously and with a little luck the trespasser themselves will see it and know that you are getting close to identifying them.


Detecting and stopping trespassers can be frustrating and confounding if you approach the problem in a haphazard way. Using a little bit of psychology, correct strategy and a few choice tools you can keep your properties, be they vacant land or developed parcels, intruder-free and firmly under your control.

Use this article as a guide for developing your own strategy and implement the procedures we have shared with you and soon you will have your property on lockdown in no time.

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2 thoughts on “A Guide to Catching Trespassers – And Not Get Into Trouble”

  1. I raise hog’s,and they are NOT pets. They may be in a fenced area, but make no mistake, they are wild. When I feed them, I always have someone with me and we are both armed. You cannot trust them. That being said, if anyone wants to trespass on my land, they will have to go thru the hog pasture at their own risk. I have it posted and the sheriff’s deputy told me it was more than sufficient. I figure anyone getting caught by one of the hogs is going to at a minimum be severely injured, bitten with a chunk coming out. Worse case, the trespasser will turn into a meal for the hogs. Won’t be the first time hogs ate someone.

  2. I’m looking for some out-of-the-way land, and one of the things I’m trying very hard to avoid is buying a lot with active off-roader trails going through it. I’ve heard too many stories of fights between landowners and off-roaders who think the whole county is their dirt track.


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