Good Questions: Peeping Toms

Good Questions: Peeping Toms

Gregory Han
Aug 21, 2007

A coworker has recently endured some nerve-racking invasion of privacy due to a peeping tom in her apartment and wanted to share her experience:

"I saw him as I was just walking across the living room. There's a small area behind some large bushes, which provided him a hidden haven from where to peek. I only realized he was there because of a random interior shadow that revealed his location. He immediately ran after I saw him. The worst thing is I don't know if he had been watching me that one time or had been coming around regularly the last few weeks.

I put up some temporary sheets to cover the window, but do you have any other ideas to prevent more peeping?"

My coworker asked what I'd recommended besides putting up proper window shades/blinds (which she can't afford) or temporary window covers (she has had her extra bed sheets up and leaves a bat next to the door).

The first thing I'd recommend is to report the incident to management. If he's peeping inside one unit, he's likely invading other people's places. Getting the word out is an important deterrent, and management will hopefully react accordingly with notices and safety measures. It will also multiply the amount of eyes looking out for suspicious behaviour. It's also worth the effort to ask management to install motion sensor lights in the darkest areas of her complex. Good lighting deters shady behaviour, so it's worth the small investment of installing one near dimly lit access areas.

A relatively affordable solution that doesn't require wall hardware installation is privacy window film. I just installed some of this on our kitchen windows that face directly into another mirroring unit and it really does a great job of obscuring vision inside and out, while allowing light in. She'd also be surprised how affordable blackout roller shades can be; these do double duty for privacy and also to keep your interior much cooler during these hot summer days.

Finally, talk to your neighbors. Back when I was kid, we had a community watch, and neighbors would report suspicious activity, which resulted in few vandalism and robbery incidents.

When budget allows, I've recommended my coworker invest in some proper window coverings. But for now, it seems like her nervous eyes and baseball bat will have to do until her privacy window film arrives (she's also asking management if she can move into an upper unit).

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