Is Your Neighbor a Peeping Tom?

Dear Apartment Guru,

I am worried my neighbor is spying on me. I recently found a small hole in my bathroom about the size of a pinkie nail. I don't know why, but I decided to cover it up. I am not so savvy with spackle so I put a little framed picture over it. A few days later, the picture had mysteriously fallen to the ground. Perhaps a little flakily, I just rehung it. Then, a few days later, it had fallen again.

When I looked through it, I saw it led exactly into my neighbor's apartment and I could see a pretty good amount of the room on the other side.

I covered the hole, this time by stuffing some of that gummy eraser stuff in there. But I am feeling really weird about my neighbor. Is there some way I can find out if he was in fact peeping? And if I can prove it, what can I do about it?

-- Peeped and Freaked
Dear Freaked,

I understand you not wanting to think the worst of your neighbor. I also fully understand you thinking the worst of your neighbor.

I, for one, can't remember the last time a photograph fell off of my wall ... twice. So, I'd say, now is the time to act. If this guy is doing what he might be doing, it is illegal.

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Sgt. Scott Harvey, a public information officer in Kentucky, agrees. "Best case scenario is that this is an old apartment that just doesn't like things hanging in the bathroom. Second best case is the pervert next door has been peeping in on you with his naked eye. But the worst-case scenario," he cautions, "is that he has been recording or photographing what he sees."

By contacting the police, they will have the power to search for evidence, if there is any. "This would include any digital images, videos, etcetera," says Harvey.

Meantime, fill in the hole permanently and check for others. Have your landlord do it if you don't want to do it yourself. Or for something a little more expeditious, ask a "handy" friend. You might need your locks changed and might even want to consider looking for a new address.

This is important for your own mental well-being, Freaked. If your neighbor has been peeping, this could prove incredibly damaging to your sense of safety. It is a violation. Allow yourself to talk about it, and seek help if you think that you are suffering any guilt, insecurity or depression as a result.

I think Sgt. Harvey puts it best: "Better to err on the side of caution and get the police involved -- for peace of mind if nothing else."

Best of luck to you and an enormous virtual hug!

Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at:

The Apartment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of "The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin" and "Have Sex Like You Just Met." Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, and abroad in Prague, she knows what it means to live in a home you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.

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