Lighting Remote Areas of my Property


Old 01-24-19, 08:04 AM
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Lighting Remote Areas of my Property

My house sits in the middle of 3.4 wooded acres, but it's also smack in the middle of town. 12 other properties border mine. I've caught people cutting through my property to get from one side of town to the other, which didn't really bother me too much until now. Over the weekend, my cameras caught someone exiting the woods with a duffel bag and walking down my 500-foot driveway at 1:30 in the morning. I followed the footprints in the snow to the base of a tree where there was a pile of discarded hangers, price tags and some clothing from a local clothing store - obviously shoplifted merchandise. Closer examination of the footprints showed that the person circled several trees before finding the loot. So someone else had left the stash there for them to get. Why someone would want to take the time to strip the clothes from the hangers, and tags from the clothes, then stuff them in a bag in the dark, in the middle of a snowstorm, is beyond me. Anyhow, I'd like to deter this behavior.

I'm thinking about putting low voltage lights around the border as a deterrent. Maybe uplights on trees, or motion activated floods on trees. I don't know yet. The issue is that to get power from my house to the property edges would mean a few several-hundred-foot runs of cable from the transformer out to the edges. Is this even possible or practial? I get that I'd have to get a pretty big transformer to compensate for the voltage drop. I don't think it would make sense to trench 110V out and mount the transformers remotely. Solar isn't an option because of the heavy tree cover.

Any suggestions or ideas?
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Old 01-24-19, 08:27 AM
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How about a couple of battery powered sensor lights high enough to discourage tampering. One or two events may discourage that kind of activity. with little activity, the batteries, and LED lights should last a while. Just a shot. Or some noise device.
Old 01-24-19, 09:40 AM
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You're probably right - I might be thinking too big. A temporary solution would probably scare them off.
Old 01-24-19, 09:42 AM
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I know it would be expensive but if the lights don't work a fence might deter people just enough that they would walk around the property instead of cutting through.
Old 01-25-19, 09:47 AM
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I would get a couple solar powered motion lights as Sid mentioned. They are bright enough that someone up to no good probably wouldn't want a light flashing on them.
But I'd also get a few wireless-looking security cameras and put them up next to the lights. They could actually be functional, or more likely, just look functional.
Old 01-25-19, 09:53 AM
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+1 for solar powered motion lights.
You can also get animal (game) cameras if you want to share with the local police.
Old 01-27-19, 01:40 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. A fence would definitely be effective, but it would be cost prohibitive at this point. Plus we get a lot of wild life that I don't want to block in or out of the property.

I checked out battery-operated motion lights on Amazon and I'm surprised at the good reviews they get. There is too much shade for solar to work effectively so I'm going to try some of those along with a trail cam.

It's not like this sort of thing happens all the time, actually it only happened just this once, but it can't hurt to add a bit more security out there.
Old 01-27-19, 06:46 PM
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Put up a few "no trespassing" signs, a few "beware of dogs" signs.
Top that off with a single wire electric fence for just over $100.

Figure 3.4 acre lot should be ~380' per side, total perimeter of ~1,500 feet.
That's a workable distance for a single wire fence. Trick is, single wire livestock fence.
- 2-mile-of-fence-charger is $30 bucks.
- 2600 feet of basic electric fence wire is about $50.
- 100 electric fence insulated eye-screws about $25 bucks. (Wooded lot, 1500 foot perimeter, 100 insulated eyes gives 15 foot spacing - slack, but workable. )

Grab a bunch of "beware of dog" signs and post them along the property.
Then run the single wire electric fence around the perimeter.

Your average miscreant will look at this and go "yeah right, there are no dogs", then grab the electric fence, get a good shock and pee themselves a little, and never come back.

Your mileage may vary...
Old 01-27-19, 07:17 PM
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People have suggested lawn sprinklers tied to motion detectors in the past for deer....
Old 01-28-19, 01:29 AM
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You could string aerial wire, that is a maintenance problem. Solar powered motion lights are effective for a while. The deer, coyotes and bobcats in my area were only deterred for about a month. There has to be another action included with light for it do any good. I have a friend that connected motion sensors to the sprinklers in the eves of his house. Just look for the wet guy running, your in snow country so water is probably not a solution.
I have 5 acres and would not want noise makers in the back of my property. Have you furnished the police with the pictures? If they know about the problem they might send someone by at odd times, Which might be a bigger deterrent. Light may or may not deter criminals and then your faced with do you or your family want to confront these people? Have you contacted any other property owner to see if this is a issue for them?
Sounds like your in a suburban area so the concept of the electric fence MIGHT get you in more trouble. Being in today's world the criminals have more rights than the property owners.
Old 01-28-19, 04:37 AM
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If you get trail cameras there are two main types. Those with traditional IR illumination for night time photos and those with "black" LED's. The traditional are less expensive and more powerful so they have longer range at night but if someone is looking right at the camera they will see the dull red glow of the illuminators. The black LED's are totally invisible to humans but have a shorter range and are more expensive.

If someone sees your camera there is a chance that they will steal the memory card or take the camera altogether. Many brand cameras also have available as an accessory a steel box to contain the camera that you can lock to a tree with a cable lock to deter theft. Still, your best defense is stealth. If they don't know the camera is there they won't steal it.

But... a hidden camera that nobody knows about is no deterrence. Yea, you'll be able to see who's on your property and what they are doing but a hidden camera will not deter them from doing it. They have to see the cameras to know they are being watched and to pick another location to hang out.
Old 01-28-19, 09:43 AM
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I have a bunch of cameras, some are deliberately conspicuous (and as such are effective deterrents) and some are deliberately inconspicuous. I did share the footage with the police and they said they'd watch for people wandering around at odd hours of the night. I think it was an isolated incident, but I'd still like to be proactive about preventing trespassers in the future. My existing cameras cover the house itself and the driveway but not the woods. Some decoy cameras out there might be effective, too.

I'm okay with the deer, fox and occasional coyote. It's the people I'd like to deter. Lights may do it, signage too. I'd LOVE to do an electric fence but I'm sure I'd get in trouble. Particularly since the guy that borders the back of my property put his shed on my land. He did it before my house was built but even so it's pretty clear it's not his property. At the advice of my attorney I've let him know that I'm aware of the encroachment so as to avoid any squatters claims in the future. As a result he hates me and would hate me more if I put an electric fence between him and his shed

None of my neighbors saw anything or have had any issues. So, again, it's probably an isolated incident. I'm in NJ so I can't legally defend my property in any meaningful way. I just have to rely on passive deterrents and the police (who are great but have bigger fish to fry).
Old 02-08-19, 06:45 AM
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The first thing you need is signs.

I am starting to think of your rear neighbor as a bad person, and clearing away all of the ifs, ands, and buts while never having seen or met him myself.. He was allowed to keep the shed there and take reasonable care of the land and pay ten dollars a year and he still hates you?

An electric fence will perturb animals. It would be equally subject to vandalism as cameras.

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