Surveillance sins: 1 in 4 homeowners admit they use security cameras to spy on neighbors

PROVO, Utah — If your neighbor has a home security system, you might want to close the blinds fast! A new poll finds many Americans aren’t just using their surveillance cameras to keep the house safe — they’re also spying on the neighborhood!

In a survey of more than 1,000 Americans who have home security cameras, commissioned by smart home company Vivint, one in four people admit to using their cameras to peek at what their neighbors are up to. One in seven confess to getting an X-rated show after catching a neighbor walking around naked.

It turns out Gen X homeowners are the most likely neighbors that like to spy on others. Meanwhile, younger respondents actually use their cameras for the exact opposite purpose! Three in 10 Gen Z respondents say they use their cameras to avoid people who knock on their door.

That probably won’t sit well with all the people trying to surprise their friends with a visit — the most common thing home surveillance cameras catch each year (31.8%). Interestingly, more than one in 10 people claim some of those surprise “guests” appearing on their cameras are ghosts, aliens, or supernatural phenomena!

Safety is still the priority

Although some naughty neighbors may be up to no good, the biggest reason Americans invest in a home security system is still to make sure their property is safe (48.7%). However, online shopping has now moved “monitoring package deliveries” to the second most popular reason people buy a home camera (40.8%). With that in mind, 37 percent say they use their surveillance system to watch for porch pirates. One in seven respondents say they’ve caught a porch pirate in the act on their cameras.

That’s not the only unruly act being caught on camera these days. With gas prices skyrocketing this year, one in eight people claim their cameras caught someone stealing gas from their car.

Another 18 percent have caught a neighbor not picking up after their dog and over 12 percent have caught their own roommate stealing something inside the home.

One in nine parents have even caught their kids sneaking out of the house or throwing a party. One 58-year-old respondent notes that he and his wife caught their son inviting friends over without permission, adding that the sneaky child “found it funny when we confronted him about it.”

So, if you’re looking to avoid unwanted surveillance, respondents say the most common places they install indoor cameras are in the living room (56%), an office (48%), and the kitchen (36%). Outside, three in four people put a camera on their front door, while 53 percent opt for either the front yard or back door.

neighbors what we see

Smile, you’re on camera — all the time!

While Americans may or may not like all of this surveillance in their neighborhoods, there’s no denying that cameras are everywhere now. The poll finds the average American is captured on surveillance cameras roughly 70 times a day! Estimates predict the video doorbell industry will grow by over $4 billion in the next six years.

There is one good thing coming from all of this. The survey finds that when people see something wrong, they say something. Over half the poll (54%) takes action when they see something upsetting on their surveillance system.

This includes checking the rest of their surveillance footage (51%), calling the police (44%), and leaving their cameras on longer (43%). However, one in five Americans (22%) just post the video on social media.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Aren’t there any cameras that DON’T connect to the internet, but just store what they see locally?

  2. That’s immoral any way you slice it. Who asked these judgmental vigilantes to SPY on people they do not know(which is ILLEGAL)and play God during the judging game. This is no different than racial profiling. Wonder how they would feel if they were the victim of ‘big brother’ type stalking and harassment. Innocent people DO NOT deserve to be spied on and these neighbors are doing it for their own pleasure and personal nefarious motives if you ask me. This trend MUST STOP! Everyone has a right to privacy. Even people in stir.

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