What to do if you're threatened by neighbors - AmericaNowNews.com

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What to do if you're threatened by neighbors

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No matter where you live, you may never know who you're really living next to until a neighbor reveals their dark side. Headlines across the country show just how violent these confrontations can be.

In Charlotte, N. C., a woman was arrested for allegedly attacking her neighbors with a pan full of hot grease. In Teaneck, N. J., a man was charged with assault after pulling a gun on his neighbor for passing too much gas. And, in Cape Coral, Fla., an 81-year-old woman was taken to jail for terrorizing her neighbor and her gay son with a series of threatening phone calls.

Attorney Scott Fisher says neighbor harassment is an all-too-common and frightening problem. He suggests if a neighbor confronts you, try not to engage them.

"You just don't know where this harassing behavior that was unprovoked is going to go," says Fisher.

America Now Producer Jeff Copeland feared for his safety after he unknowingly bought a house next to a drug dealer.

"I had a rough street. People were in my driveway who were dangerous, and I felt threatened," said Copeland. "There really was nothing I could do about it until the night he threatened to kill me."

Scott Fisher says any threat of physical violence should always be taken seriously.

"There are legal remedies available to them in the form of temporary restraining orders and more permanent injunctions to prohibit that type of behavior," says Fisher. "Police can get involved and that individual can face jail time."

Copeland said his neighbor's death threat gave him the ammunition to fight back.

"I called the police immediately," he explained. "I filed the report. The investigative report from the officers gave me the power to go to court and get a restraining order, and it made all the difference. It shut him down. I no longer have drug dealers on my driveway!"

Restraining orders trigger hearings before a judge, so Fisher says be ready to make your case.

"Oftentimes these types of complaints do involve a 'he said, she said' type of scenario," says Fisher.

To prove a case against your harassing neighbor, Fisher recommends taking the following steps:

  1. Witnesses: Find any witnesses that will back up your story
  2. Written documentation: Keep police reports
  3. Recorded documentation: Keep tape or video recordings of events
  4. Detailed timeline: Keep a timeline of the events with dates

By exercising his legal rights, Copeland successfully stopped the harassment and has moved on with his life. 

So remember, if a neighbor is harassing you, don't take matters into your own hands. Too often, it only makes a bad situation worse.

 Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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