Protecting your Neighbor's home...

This is a discussion on Protecting your Neighbor's home... within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was reading another thread the other day (scenarios) where a forum member went to their neighbor's house to investigate what they thought were nare-do-wells ...

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Thread: Protecting your Neighbor's home...

  1. #1
    Member Array TNTRower's Avatar
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    Protecting your Neighbor's home...

    I was reading another thread the other day (scenarios) where a forum member went to their neighbor's house to investigate what they thought were nare-do-wells in the house (turned out it was relatives of the neighbor).

    To that end it got me to thinking. We have all been asked by neighbors to "keep an eye on the house" while they were on vacation or something like that. Does this mean we are covered under the law if we do see someone robbing the house and we alert 911 and confront the nare-do-wells?

    In Georgia, it appears that you are not:

    O.C.G.A.§ 16-3-24
    Use of force in defense of property other than a habitation
    (a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property:

    (1) Lawfully in his possession;

    (2) Lawfully in the possession of a member of his immediate family; or

    (3) Belonging to a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.

    (b) The use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to prevent trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
    What do other states say about protecting a neighbor's home?

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    Member Array woodrow's Avatar
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    Play it safe and call the cops, don't investigate on your own. You don't know it's a bad guy. Just because you see someone bust out a window, doesn't mean it's not a relative who forgot a key and needs something due to an emergency (most likely a bad guy but you can't be 100%). As far as laws go, I'm not sure what they say you can/can't do.
    Romans 12:21

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    Member Array woodrow's Avatar
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    Sorry, skipped over the third point. Very interesting as I was not aware of such a law. Not sure about Iowa, but I'd still leave it up to the cops to investigate and continue to keep an eye out.
    Romans 12:21

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    Member Array GunTrooper's Avatar
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    Having a CCW NEVER gives you police powers; a neighbor asking you to keep an eye on their house NEVER gives you police powers. With no police powers, you cannot ever go and investigate, which is really what you are doing if you see something strange in a neighbor's house.

    I would say you really only could do so if you were house-sitting; actually staying in a friend/neighbor's house while they were out. Then if someone came into the house, you could apply the "castle doctrine".

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    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    A ne'er do well snooping around your neighbor's house while they are gone presents no immediate threat to anyone's life. Wouldn't a 911 call be in order, as well as any benefit you could add as a witness to happenings? "Keeping an eye on the house" doesn't constitute legal duty to protect. I can't quote any law on this but I'd expect most states would be much the same as what you see in Georgia's statutes in this regard.

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    To me "keep an eye on the house" does not mean go into the house and "investigate" if you see bad guys prowling around; it means grab the papers if the papers keep coming, grab the mail if it keeps coming, pick up any UPS boxes, water the plants, and call the cops if you see bad guys up to no good.

    So even if it did impose a legal duty to protect, I ain't gonna go gunnin' to save my neighbor's toaster.
    -PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
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    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
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    Member Array TNTRower's Avatar
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    I am in agreement with all the statements made about calling 911. I just think that line number 3 is interesting especially in view of the Supreme Court Of the US (SCOTUS) holding that Police have no duty to protect (Castle Rock v. Gonzales) people. If Police do not have this duty, who then has the "legal duty" to protect someone's property?

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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    Unless i thought my Neighbor was in direct physical harm, i would be calling the Sheriff's Dept. I am also a Block Capt of a neighborhood watch (When asked that all volunteers step forward, all my neighbors stepped back, so here i am). Same thing, I have the Sheriff's NON EMERGENCY number on my Speed Dial if i see something suspicious

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    Distinguished Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    Living in the sticks I probably take a bit more freedom on this subject, as does my neighbor thankfully. Our houses are a quarter mile apart but we can see the basics across the pastures. I've headed to his house full bore a couple of times while they've been gone, and he's done the same for me. But there is still a line that I'm not going to cross and searching inside his home, under any circumstances, is one of them. We've got cell service out there and that's good for me. I'll take on the horse barn carefully and block the driveway so his equipment doesn't go out easily. That's time for 911. I won't be indicted for someone else's stuff.
    Savage Heartland

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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    Are they 2A supporters?
    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
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    Distinguished Member Array Dan060's Avatar
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    I don't know what the law says so far as my state,nor,do i need to know.
    I'm not going to play hero,and go check it out,and possibly get shot..I'm picking up my phone and call 911,if i see something.
    Manderinobyebye likes this.

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    Ex Member Array Manderinobyebye's Avatar
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    Same here Dan.That's what the LEO'S are for.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    In TX, it's legal.

    Taken literally, as far as the "legal duty" goes, agreeing to watch the house could imply a verbal contract - at least it could if it might mean a good guy gets to go home.

    None of this is to say how I would react in such circumstances.

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    Member Array TNTRower's Avatar
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    Let's throw a wrench into the works.

    What if you had borrowed a friend's truck to pick something up that would not fit in your vehicle. Would the same logic apply if you walked back to the vehicle and found someone trying to break into it or already inside the vehicle?

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    Member Array JJVP's Avatar
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    Perfectly legal in TX. Not necessarily advisable, but legal.

    PC §9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and:
    (1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible movable property; or
    (2) the actor reasonably believes that:
    (A) the third person has requested his protection of the land or property;
    (B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or
    (C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the actor, or is under the actor's care
    Snub44 and 1MoreGoodGuy like this.

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