Be a better neighbor. Sign up for EveryBlock to follow and discuss neighborhood news.

Sign up for free →

Added Oct 16 2012

I haven't lived in Chicago too terribly long, but I recently witnessed a person, one building over, looking out the window with binoculars. At first I thought this person was looking at me, but then I realized they were looking one floor above me, and one apartment over. Although it concerned me, I doubted that it was illegal; but simply looked-down upon. This morning (Oct 16th, 2012) I noticed the same individual peering out the window with the binoculars, but they were, how should I say, disrobed(?). They then set the binoculars down know where this headed, right?

So what do I do? The Peeping Tom didn't violate my privacy. The Peeping Tom didn't expose themselves to me (let alone realize that, ironically enough, they were being watched) and the only thing that I can honestly say is that I caught someone doing something which I find morally repellant.

Do I knock on the suspected victim's door and explain the situation? Do I try to get into the building that the Peeping Tom lives in, and leave a note on their door? Do I contact the police? My Alderman? I have no idea what the best approach is!! Any feedback and advice would be appreciated!!

  • The Crusty Pirate Old crotchety pirate captain (retired)

    Hmmm... binoculars - pretty fancy. I like to use me brass spy-glass.

  • Bill, the OP was pretty clear that the guy was jerking off in the window. It's also very possible someone in the OP's building was doing the same. Once you expose yourself to the public (even if it's between two consenting adults) you are breaking the law. Just because it doesn't bother you, or me for that matter, that does not mean other people should have to see it.

  • The Crusty Pirate Old crotchety pirate captain (retired)

    ... eyy - a one handed peeping tool - much more practical... I says.

  • Inactive user

    RobnH20: I didn't find the first post clear on that. If someone is masturbating in public view, call the cops.

  • PJ Emm "Mongo only pawn in game of life"

    Call the cops. While peeping isn't exactly illegal, his self-flagellation is definitely against the law. Note the floor and position of the apartment. If you can, get a pic of the guy "doing his business" to give to the cops. There is nothing like incontrovertible proof to help the cops charge the guy.
    As well, you were advised to send a note to the condo association; I agree completely. You should also let your upstairs neighbor know; you'd want to know, right?

  • Because the first post wasn't clear on that. I'm betting nothing was shown and the OP's imagination took care of the rest.

  • Bradley 13 Year Buena Park resident

    Doesn't watching someone pleasure himself in his own apartment make you a voyeur?

  • Inactive user

    The OP clearly said he could not see anything indecent - he said the peeping tom was not exposed. So, we've covered the fact that it is not illegal to look out your windows, even with binoculars. And we know it's not ilegal to jerk off. And the guy didn't show his junk to anyone. So I'm not sure how this warrants a call to the police. I mean, I'm female, you'd think something like this would bother me, but frankly, if he's not hurting you in any way at all, what do you care? Personally, I think more people should fondle themselves - there would probably be a lot more relaxed people walking amongst us. He was in the privacy of his own home for crying out loud. If you don't want to see someone pleasuring themselves, don't look in their window. Like Bradley said, you are actually a voyeur here as well.

  • Darryl Grant Rogers Park resident since 2009

    Uhhmm, public masturbation, whether intentional, or unintentional (let's say the moment was too good for him to pass up the chance) is at least a misdemeanor, and while I am no prude, let's assume that most people don't want to see this. As the other person said, no one but Rachel would confront the guy. Call the cops, and let the super know; this is one we can't take a pass on.

  • JB in RV Chicago Homeowner

    I'd call the cops. It doesn't matter if he was looking at you or not. Bottom line is he is a perv and that's not cool. There could be children he is spying on for all you know. At least call the cops and let them hassle him. Maybe he'll think again before he decides to peep in the future.

  • Inactive user

    How is he "publicly" masturbating when he is in his own home and no one can see his genitals? Sorry, I *am* a prude but I think this really being overblown (no pun intended, heehee). No one has any proof the guy is a pervert - he could be playing with a willing participant or bird watching for all you know. Unless you are standing at his vantage point and can see what he's looking at, you're simply speculating that he is ogling someone. If it were me, I would slip an anonymous note in the mailbox or under the door of the suspected "victim" and leave it at that. If that person isn't cool with what you perceive to be going down, they will handle it. They may look out their window and see the guy and realize he is not looking at them at all. They may even knowingly chuckle because they are a playmate of said neighbor across the way. But I would say, given the sheer quantity of violent crimes in this city, the police have better things to do than investigate some guy flogging the dolphin in his own home. Wouldn't you say?

  • Inactive user

    And if at any point his privates because publics, then I'd call the cops, because that would infringe on your rights. But if you can't see anything, other than his arm moving up/down/back/forth, you really have no reason to call. In fact, if cops are tending to this while some old lady is getting mugged, I'll personally be pissed.

  • Darryl Grant Rogers Park resident since 2009

    If things were taken to the logical conclusion, then masturbation that is publicly viewed, even through a window, is public enough for me. True, the cops may not take this seriously, but a report on file can't hurt; as someone else noted, children might view this, and despite this "ain't being Kansas anymore", I wouldn't want my kids to see that. I once knew someone who paraded nude in front of his windows in a rather chi-chi n'hood in DC, but said that he drew the line at outright sexual activity, in full view of the neighbors, but nudity was OK. The eye of the beholder? Or, those that beheld?

  • d3 NOH

    it wasn't publicly viewed though. s/he said: 'the peeping tom didn't expose themselves to me'

  • Karen RCK Non-transplanted Chicagoan

    After seeing other comments and rereading (ack! -- I'm usually better at reading comprehension), now that I realize no junkiness was displayed I would not call the police.

    And to be honest, even if I did see his junk I would just take pictures/video and show my friends because I think it's funny... though I understand others wouldn't.

  • Darryl Grant Rogers Park resident since 2009

    PICS? OK, life in Rogers Park may not be as exciting as say that in Lincoln, or Wicker Park? Whatever happened to Scrabble? <LOL>

  • maryd Born, raised and remain in East Rogers Park

    When I was in high school a guy used to sit in his car jerking off when us high schoolers were crossing the street to wait for the bus. He wasn't being obvious and was rather discreet about it but he was there regularly. Some of us accidentally saw what he was doing once after we got on the bus. So where does this fall in your books?

  • Edgewater Pete Resident on N Sheridan Rd

    First, I'd like to thank everyone for the discussion -- as you can see, there's certainly a wide variety of opinions. What I find most concerning are the comments that would suggest that I am somehow at-fault for having witnessed this. I also find it disturbing that anyone would suggest that I, myself am a voyeur. If that were true wouldn't common sense suggest I would be writing about this on a completely different website? I also apologize if my original post was somehow vague; it was done out of respect for you, the reader.

    To provide further clarity, may I offer the following: I was smoking my morning cigarette on my balcony when this occurred. It's not like I was looking out my window at somebody looking out their window. (Hey, isn't there a song that kinda goes like that?) In short, I was outside. Call me crazy, but whenever I see someone standing inches from their window, peering-out through binoculars, I can't but think "what are they looking at?" So after examining the surroundings and looking back at the person, it's was BLATANTLY obvious what they were doing. Let me be clear: IT WAS BLATANTLY OBVIOUS. The did NOT expose themselves to me though.

    To restate my concern, I'm trying to answer the following: A) Was a crime was committed? B) In the interest of protecting others from harm, should I feel morally obligated to report this incident? I don't believe in punishing people. I'd also like for this behavior to stop immediately.

    Lastly, to those who would suggest that I should simply 'close my blinds' or otherwise ignore the world around me, may I provide the following quote, which is often credited to an ancient author and physician, "Luke": "When good men do nothing, they get nothing good done."

  • Darryl Grant Rogers Park resident since 2009

    I am with you Pete - report it - and let the cops decide what else to do, and under what law it effects. As I said, a report is certainly warranted. A morning smoke (ah, I miss those days) should be pleasant.

  • maryd Born, raised and remain in East Rogers Park

    In all seriousness, I would call 311 and explain the situation and ask, is this something I should be reporting to the police or not? If they say yes, they'll take the information. If they say no, then there you have it. I'm not versed in the legalities of it though, but especially if I knew it was not an isolated incident, I'd give them a call.

  • Laser pointer

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    Andersonville Andy, Pete wrote in original post "This morning (Oct 16th, 2012) I noticed the same individual peering out the window with the binoculars, but they were, how should I say, disrobed(?). They then set the binoculars down know where this headed, right?" In a subsequent post he clarified without going into graphic detail that he COULD see a naked guy jacking off while standing at his window with a pair of binoculars. Sounds nasty to me--and illegal.

    I LOVE the laser pointer idea... LMAO

    Overall, this has been one of the most entertaining threads I've read yet on EB. Thanks for the grins, all.

    PS Sorry, DBLight, but at least your coffee didn't wind up coming out of your nose. I hate it when that happens. ;-)

  • Inactive user

    Nope. He actually said - more than once - that the guy did NOT expose himself. One can tell that someone is disrobed without seeing their genitals and, last I checked, being naked inside your own apartment was not illegal. Even if he walked past his window in the full monty, I am not sure anything could be done about this as, again, he was in his own home and not showing anything that isn't visible at, say, Oak Street Beach.

  • Terry Midnight Owner of Third Coast Comics in Rogers Park

    I don't about just looking up there and yelling, "Hey Bro, What the S***?!"

    He'll look over and see you, get embarrassed and pop back inside to freak out Privately about what's gonna happen next.

    I wouldn't leave any notes. He's been seen and he knows it. If you see him again, then you know he's too stupid to stop and then you call the police.

    I'm not saying peeping toms should be tolerated but I saying that part of being neighbors is slapping the hand of your stupid creepy neighbor.

  • Andy Andy...just because Pete could not see his junk, that doesn't mean the people above him couldn't. Everyone is treating this like it's a case of mutually consenting adults in voyeur mode, but odds are it's not. The least that should be done is informing the folks above you.

    One last thing...telling someone to shut their curtains if they don't like what they see is akin to telling your neighbors "it's just a little dog poop on the sidewalk...if you don't like it, don't step in it". Rude.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    I see what you're saying, Andy. But, just b/c Pete could not see (he was, I believe, one floor below Binoculars Guy) doesn't mean that anyone a floor above Pete's and above didn't have complete view of the solo sex act. Therefore, even though BG didn't expose himself to Pete, per se, the fact that he was pleasuring himself at his window in full view of everyone except Pete tells me that it's appropriate to report this douche to the police. I think somebody already mentioned what if a child were exposed to this behavior? Not cool. I'm no prude, but I believe sexual acts need to be between consenting adults or hormone crazy teens; they should not be potentially viewable by children.

  • Inactive user

    If a "complete view of the solo act" was in "full view of everyone except Pete" as you suggest, one has to assume everyone except Pete has already called the police.

  • Andy...or do you prefer Devil's's quite hypocritical of you to be such a fiend for justice against most crimes, but in this instance where you've very possibly got a stalker, you don't give a rat's behind. This may seem like a victimless crime to you, but to most women (and many men) it is not. I find your comments un-neighborly and a bit rude.

  • Inactive user

    RobnH20, I have said nothing rude here what-so-ever. The fact that you disagree with my opinion, which I have every right to own and which Pete asked for, does not make me rude no matter how much you want that to be the case. I am sorry that you feel the need to personally attack me and resort to name calling solely because we have different opinions, but that is on you.

  • Now I sincerely doubt that Devil's Advocate is the worst you've been called. I just find it odd that your opinion on this subject contradicts other statements you've made here previously. In fact you've always come across as a bit of a fussbudget, so this nonchalant viewpoint totally comes out of left field.

  • Vincent

    You were looking in his window watching him look in someone's window.

  • Michael Benami Doyle Moving to Los Angeles

    It's not illegal, but you might want to tell your neighbor.

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991

    It's illegal in Iowa. I'm willing to bet it's illegal here:

  • RogersParker Rogers Parker since 1991
  • Bunch of pretend lawyers in here.

  • Municipal Code of Chicago § 8-8-080: Indecent exposure or dress.

    "Any person who shall appear, bathe, sunbathe, walk or be in any public park, playground, beach or the waters adjacent thereto, or any school facility and the area adjacent thereto, or any municipal building and the areas adjacent thereto, or any public way within the City of Chicago in such a manner that the genitals, vulva, pubis, pubic hair, buttocks, perineum, anus, anal region, or pubic hair region of any person, or any portion of the breast at or below the upper edge of the areola thereof of any female person, is exposed to public view or is not covered by an opaque covering, shall be fined not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 for each offense."

    In short, the person must be in a "public park" | "playground" | "beach" | "beach waters" | "school or school grounds" | "municipal building or its grounds" | or "public way."

    Private residence doesn't fall into any of these categories.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff.
  • @red stars and blue stripes

    Great work law student...why don't you throw open your curtains and press your naked junk against your house windows. I'm sure you won't get know the law right? You probably won't get evicted either. Good luck with that.

  • Edgewater Pete Resident on N Sheridan Rd

    I think we have our answer from RogersParker, so thanks for the information!! I appreciate everyone who contributed to the discussion. It reinforces the fact that we are such a diverse group with so many different beliefs, ideals, and values; and yet because we're neighbors I feel a duty to peacefully coexist. Therefore I will strive to strengthen and confirm that which is beneficial and creates common value; and discourage and oppose that which seeks to destroy, tear-down, or harm any of you. I may not know you personally, but please know that I respect you, value your input, and will do what I can to strengthen our neighborhood. Why? Because you are a member of the human race, because you matter, and because you are worthy. Thanks again for your contributions and for being of service. YOU are appreciated.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff.
  • if he's standing naked in his wiindow, it's an open and notorious act and it's illegal.

  • Jackson Theodore

    call police

  • I think it's interesting to see more emails on this ridiculous debate then we see on how to stop violence in our neighborhood. Like the 6PM stabbing at McDonalds or the shootings regularly on Kenmore and Winthrop. What about the drug creeps standing on corners with cell phones (not from our neighborhood) on Granville and Thorndale etc.? I'll take a peeper over a shooter any time.

  • Edgewater Pete Resident on N Sheridan Rd

    I don't think anyone would disagree that they would rather be looked at than shot at. That's not even the question or subject at hand. I was seeking feedback to an issue that concerned me.

    In response to the previous comment above, I'm not hearing a constructive solution to any problem; merely mindless ranting and criticism. If you have a concern that you would like to discuss, may I respectfully suggest that you start a separate topic and invite others to participate?

    If you don't like something, then change it! If you don't know how to change it, then ask for help. But I think it's in very poor taste, character, and judgement to criticize an entire group of people because they are collectively attempting to solve a altogether separate problem.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff.
  • Michael Benami Doyle Moving to Los Angeles

    This is a non-issue. Anyone living in a high rise near a construction site can easily see construction workers peeping wit binoculars into adjacent residential towers--every day, all day long. This happens all the time and always has.

  • Jackson Theodore

    I have been on Every Block for a few weeks ... what I learned is that the community is so judgmental so my advice to you is just to call 911. I personally appreciate you giving me the heads up ... some people just roll their eyes. My opinion ... peeping is peeping and its wrong. Obviously the person is mental ill if they dont know the difference between right or wrong. You should call 911 ... you dont know the persons next step!

  • Mel in Ravenswood Local know-it-all.

    Call the police. That's illegal.

  • Everyblock monitors all comments and removes even the slightest reference to anything controversial. I thought we were all adults trying to stay informed and react to issues that affect our neighborhoods? Good luck folks.

  • Max

    Theeeeen people probably shouldn't be prancing around in their knickers in front of that large picture window. I have eyes, so sue me.

22 neighbors are subscribed to this conversation.

Posted to Edgewater

This was posted to Edgewater

What's the news in your neighborhood? Search for your ZIP code:

e.g. 60615