We’ve all seen it on TV, a hole in the wall, and behind it a watcher. Is it a pervy teenage boy, or psycho killer staring through a tiny hole at you? It’s scary or at best sad. What can you do in real life if you suspect this? There has to be some way to tell, so I looked into this disturbing problem to find some reliable answers to the peephole problem.
Can you see someone looking through a peephole at you? Sometimes it’s undeniable. If you can see an eye or camera someone is watching. Other times it may be harder to tell, especially if there’s no light source on the other side. You can also (sometimes) go and check the other side of the wall the peephole is in to see if it goes all the way through.
What Can I do if I Think I’ve Found a Peephole
Sometimes it’s nothing more than that horror movie you saw last night, but what if you find evidence? It’s hard to know what steps to take. When you notice a suspicious hole that you think is being used to spy on you it’s scary. On the one hand, you don’t want to sound crazy. Then again, the idea of some weirdo looking at you is creepy at best and outright terrifying at worst.
Taking steps to protect yourself is never a bad plan. If you don’t need it, then it still won’t do any harm. If it turns out that something dangerous is going on, you’ll be glad you took action. Obviously, the first step is to verify whether the peephole goes anywhere if you can. There are times, like when it goes through a wall or ceiling into someone else’s home.
If the hole is big enough to see an eye through it’s a bit different than if the hole is tiny. When you can see the light being blocked through the hole, it’s definitely a through-hole. If you can hear people on the other side of the wall talking about it, then that’s another way to be sure. You can also try poking a thin piece of wire through the hole to see how deep it goes. Be careful though, if you suspect someone is peeking and you stab them in the eye you could end up in a nightmare scenario where they can press charges against you.
Take pictures or video of the peephole. Make sure you have good light. Always take several shots to be sure you get a good copy. Hold something up beside it, like a dime or some other small yet identifiable object. This gives your pictures perspective and shows how large the hole is. If you’re using an analog film-camera hold up a newspaper from that day to record the date clearly.
If you can measure the depth with wire, do so. Take pictures of the wire before, during and after you insert it. Make a mark to show how far it went and hold that beside a ruler. Once you have pictures, back them up and store them in additional locations. A thumb drive with a friend, or in a safe deposit box or digital backups on the cloud are all great options.
Should you happen to get a video of the light being blocked that’s great. Don’t risk your safety waiting around to try and get that shot, but you could get lucky. If you are reasonably certain it wouldn’t be difficult you might want the evidence. Try to get the shot only if it’s safe. Set up a stationary camera in a dark room.
Cover & Fill
Though it may not be reasonable for you to fill in the hole like a professional house builder, you still want to make sure you don’t just leave a peephole in your home as is. Part of protecting yourself is being proactive, but when there’s already a problem, you have to face it. Use something to fill in the hole. If you can get a calk gun inside that’s perfect. If not find some way to get a ‘filling’ in there that won’t just poke back out from the other side. Use glue or air dry clay, expanding foam or anything that sticks and stays in place.
When you’re finished, you can almost always sand off any excess that sticks out and give it a coat of paint. For apartments or rentals that use proprietary paint colors, explain the situation to the owner. If you suspect the owner or manager is the one causing the problem then talk to a lawyer about the issue instead.
If you are stuck with just covering the outside of the hole, don’t use something like paper tape. It comes off far too easily. You need to do what you can to make sure your cover stays. You may want to move furniture or a wall hanging if you have the capability. Anything but leaving it open is still better than nothing.
You’ve identified the peephole, and done what you can to record and fill it. Still, you may feel more is needed. What if it happens again? There are additional steps you can take to help protect yourself and deal with the issue.
Reverse Peephole Viewers
Those peepholes in your door can be a real lifesaver, sometimes literally. Unfortunately, they can also be a tip-off if someone wants to know when you’re home. If you can see a peeper, they can see you as well. However, there’s more to it. Though it sounds like something out of fiction, the Reverse Peephole Viewer is a real device. Exactly as you might suppose, it’s a simple device that lets anyone look into your house from the outside using your own viewer.
The simplest solution is to put in a peephole cover. The process is quick and straightforward. A single screw and less than five minutes are all it takes. A good peephole cover can’t be tampered with from outside. It will protect your privacy from unwanted door lookers. This is why I recommend the Royal H&H Door Viewer Security Peek Peep Hole. It has an eyepiece cover that does not allow someone from the other side a look inside. Click Here to get the latest pricing from Amazon
Protecting Yourself From a Reoccurrence
If the peeping occurs someplace like a gym or hotel, you can tell the staff and choose not to return. When it happens at home, it’s a little different. If you can move sometimes, that’s the best way to handle it. Not everyone can afford the expense at the drop of a hat. There are lots of ways to be safer at home.
- Create Privacy- Use a dressing screen, so you don’t have to worry about being seen in the nude. You can also opt to put up wall hangings, not just pictures, but also tapestries to help insulate from being seen easily. Break up your space with clever furniture placements.
- Armed Response- Keeping some form of self-defense on hand is always essential, but never more so than when you’re being spied on in this way. Carrying pepper spray, a taser or a gun can save your life.
- Never Alone- Have friends stay over, get a roommate, or have a family member come visit for a while, so you’re not alone if you’re concerned about your safety. Join a carpool for work.
- Locks- Install better locks. Put bars in the slide tracks of windows and any sliding doors.
- Get a Security System- In addition to an alarm system, you can get other security. Use floodlights that go off when anyone passes. Look into getting a dog or an electronic dog to bark when anyone comes around. Also, use a video surveillance system.
- Paper Trail- Always report it. Making sure the police know something is happening is another life saver.
You may want to keep some self-defense gear handy and ready for use near your bed or sofa. One kit offered on Amazon has both a stun baton and police grade tear gas kit. You can find the latest pricing by Clicking Here. It would also make sense to have a small baseball bat nearby to swing at a potential intruder. One bat highly recommended that I own is the Franklin Sports Venom Aluminum Official Youth Tee Ball Bat. Check out more about this bat Right Here.
Can I Make a Peephole to Spy on Someone
What if you’re on the other side of the issue and you want to look through a peephole? Can you drill one and just watch? Well, physically yes. Legally it’s a different story. If you have permission, or your peephole looks out on a public area, then it’s just fine. Unfortunately, if you want to spy on a neighbor or cheating spouse through a peephole, you may be out of luck.
The only way there might be an exception is if the hole is in your property and looks out on a common area. Depending on where you live you might still have to tell people it is there. Places like California where you’re allowed to record if you believe a crime is about to occur may allow you to use a pinhole camera in a peephole, but you’d need to ask a lawyer. You may not know that cheaters have to be married for adultery to apply.
Peepholes are no mystery, and getting to know your way around them is no joke. When it comes to safety, you don’t want to be on either side of a peephole. As a victim feeling violated and paranoid take a lot longer to repair than a hole in the wall. As a peeper, this is an excellent way to lose an eye or your freedom. It’s a little hard to imagine how such a tiny thing can cause so much trouble.
Are peepholes in doors legal? Not only are they permitted, but they are also required in some places. For example, in Illinois, all multi-unit housing structures are required to have door peepholes. They consider it a matter of public safety.
Who invented peepholes? Though looking through a hole in something has been around as long as eyes and holes, there is a patent. The Door Peephole was created by Abe Nichols and Joseph Spector in 1947. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that they applied for the patent in Los Angeles.
Can I press charges if someone uses a peephole to see me? Yes. When you have a reasonable expectation of privacy peeping is illegal. For example, when you are in your home with the curtains closed. Staring through a peephole is usually an invasion of your privacy. It violates the peeping tom laws. That means you can press charges if you can prove they did it. Keep in mind, your word is generally not enough proof. You will need witnesses, photos or video, or some other way to show the event happened.