The man seeks the privacy of the cameras next door | New
SMITHFIELD – After five years living with his neighbor’s security cameras pointing straight at his house, garden and driveway, Michael Erbe and his friend installed a fence measuring almost 7 feet high to block cameras from what ‘he describes as’ the scary espionage’.
Erbe lives at 34 Willow Road in Greenville. His neighbor at 32 Willow has installed several motion-sensing security cameras in the house. The one above the garage indicates Erbe’s Alley. Another on Willow’s side points to the side of Erbe’s house and to the backyard.
From inside the house, Erbe said the camera appears to be pointing directly at the two bedrooms on the side of the house.
“I understand that cameras are everywhere these days; 12 year olds have them. Home is the only place you should have privacy where you are away from work and do whatever you want to do, ”said Erbe.
Residents of 32 Willow Road could not be reached for comment on cameras.
The fence was erected two years ago, and Erbe has two more pieces of plywood measuring about 3 feet long and 10 inches high attached to the fence near the back pool to make sure his nieces and other guests are the house are not filmed in their swimsuits while enjoying the pool.
Erbe said people may feel more secure swimming in the pool now, but his neighbor is trying to get Erbe to remove the fence. Erbe said he would not move on the matter until he saw the cameras moving.
“He said I would move the camera as soon as you move the barrier,” Erbe said, adding that he would not move the barriers until the cameras were facing his rooms.
Erbe said there is a simple fix where they could both be happy, but after two years of being closed he doesn’t see it happening.
“He could just put the camera on the fence facing his yard. It’s that simple. Then I won’t feel like I’m being spied on, ”he said.
Erbe said he was concerned about footage being recorded and stored online. He said he shouldn’t have this worry living in his house.
“He has no right to deprive me of my privacy,” he said.
Erbe approached Smithfield City Council last Tuesday after saying he felt he had no other options. He told council how he first asked his neighbor to move the cameras pointed to his driveway.
Erbe said he spoke to the Smithfield Police Department and was told that no law in Smithfield or Rhode Island prevented his neighbor from pointing the camera at his house. There are also no laws preventing him from fencing in his yard, he said.
“My neighbor is depriving me of this privacy,” Erbe said.
Smithfield Police said this week they were investigating laws relating to cameras and fencing.
Speaking to the Valley Breeze & Observer, Erbe’s brother Raymond said his girlfriend reported the camera pointed at his bedroom one night.
“It’s not true. We’re not comfortable. I can’t have it with that thing up there,” he said.
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