Localism and Homeland Security

Real Estate Agent with Wilkinson & Associates

While catching up on some of the buzz on a local internet forum I came across an interesting thread. It seems that there have been a few incidents here in Charlotte where people have been confronted by security guards and told that they could not take photos. This stems from a recent incident in which a foreign visitor was arrested in July after the police found him videotaping the FBI headquarters in Charlotte. When the police reviewed the tape in his camera, they found it full of "other shots of skyscrapers and other American landmarks". While no terrorist ties were proven, the gentleman was convicted of several immigration charges including possessing false identification cards, and is being deported.


Of course, it is not illegal to take photos on public property in the US, but it appears that most property managers here have implemented a policy of banning any photography on their properties. When the security officers enforce this policy, they have a tendency to leave out the part about it only applying to while you are on their private property, and people have simply been told "You cannot take photos of our building."


As Active Rainers become more involved in contributing to the Localism site, the following information may come in handy. In fact, I would suggest carrying a copy with you when venture out to capture a little of the local color.





Comments (19)

Nick M.
Certified Residential Appraiser- West Palm Beach Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Realtor-Appraiser in West Palm-South Florida Real Estate Appraiser
South Florida Real Estate AppraiserHi Christopher.. Welcome to Active Rain!!!  good start and very interesting point. I printed out the PDF to read now. keep those blogs coming,.. it will pay off and you will see the benefits. Hope to see more.. see you around.
Feb 02, 2007 02:42 AM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Christopher,

Ditto on the welcome to AR, I'm a newbie myself.  

Thanks for the good post and obviously timely info.  I've noticed at times myself that when I'm taking photos (community photos, buildings, etc. etc.) people will look with some concern, and I've found that I've done that myself. When possible I explain I'm a local Realtor taking photos for marketin purposes. I always get a an o.k. and a smile.  I think they're relieved.

Lynda Eisenmann

Feb 02, 2007 02:57 AM
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC

Hello Christopher!  Welcome aboard.  I am right around the corner from you in Concord, NC and wanted to say howdy.  I also try to introduce myself and provide a card before I take pictures of local hot spots.  Anyway, that is five more cards given out!  It's win-win for everyone.

Triathlons huh?  You must be one tough cookie.  High five for you!  

Feb 02, 2007 03:54 AM
Christopher Baucom
Wilkinson & Associates - Belmont, NC

Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm happy to finally have found the opportunity to make a contribution after drinking from the AR fountain for several weeks now.


Virginia: I don't feel so tough now. I got pretty badly damaged in a cycling event last summer and packed on way too many extra pounds while I was sidelined. Now I'm struggling to re-establish a little consistency in my training. How's that working? NOT TOO GOOD! :(

Feb 02, 2007 05:10 AM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hey Christopher,

Since I've started blogging I've packed on a few more lbs. myself, (at least thats my excuse for now) just spending too darn much screen time.  Congrats on your Ironman distance. I was with friends in Kona for the 2005 (only as a spectator) Ironman.  We were up before dawn to watch the swim and stayed all day until about 11:00 p.m. as they were still coming over the finish line. You guys/women are amazing.  I've done a handful of marathons myself and a little biking, but an Ironman is still a dream! 

Great work,

Lynda Eisenmann

Feb 02, 2007 05:30 AM
Nick M.
Certified Residential Appraiser- West Palm Beach Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Realtor-Appraiser in West Palm-South Florida Real Estate Appraiser
Christopher,  I forgot to include this link..  :)  see you later.

A guide for newbies..

Feb 02, 2007 09:56 AM
Eric Bouler
Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La. - New Orleans, LA
Listening to your Needs
I have thought about that but have never acounted any problems. Could be New Orleans has plenty of tourist that are always taking photos. I take a lot. Good post!
Feb 02, 2007 01:24 PM
Jason Price
Mortgage Financial Group, Inc (NMLS 219650) - Tavares, FL
The Mortgage Rider
Good info to know.  Where I am, I highly doubt it would ever be a problem (land that time forgot).  But, when I travel, it will come in handy if I ever get stopped.  Thanks, and welcome to AR.
Feb 02, 2007 01:45 PM
Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
congrats on your first post! good information!
Feb 02, 2007 02:35 PM
Joe Zekas
YoChicago / New Homes Magazine - Chicago, IL

Thanks for alerting people to the difficulties they may encounter and pointing to some solid advice.

When I encounter this, which is often, I politely thank them for pointing out their policy and continue taking photographs.

If I'm on private property (usually in the lobby of a large building) and they ask me to leave, I do. They have that right.

Surprisingly, I'm most often told that I "have no right" to take photographs by Realtors, who ought to know better.

Feb 02, 2007 03:01 PM
Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance
I dropped about 100 photographs on the Localism site and can't remember if any of them resemble a government builidng.  It would have been an unconscious act , I'm sure of it.  An entire camera full would obviously be suspicious to say the least. 
Feb 02, 2007 03:57 PM
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |

Christopher, welcome to the Rain.  I'm having a blast splashing around myself.

Congratulations on your first post.  Good info.  I also try to introduce myself before taking pics if possible.  I live in an agricultural area and the other day thought that if I stop at one of the fields at picking time, the place might empty out fast if I start clicking away.  The plight of the migrant workers is near and dear to my heart.  But I digress!

Hope to see more of you around.

Feb 02, 2007 10:56 PM
David R. Fuller
RE/MAX - Anthem, AZ
Welcome and thanks for the useful information. You gotta love the new world in which we live.
Feb 03, 2007 12:00 AM
Christopher Baucom
Wilkinson & Associates - Belmont, NC

Thanks again for all the welcome messages!


Ken: While in our case the man drew attention to himself at the FBI building, the financial institutions and parking deck managers are the big enforcers of this policy around here.


Maggie: My primary market is the Lake Wylie and South Charlotte area, but the area where I live (in Gaston County) is designated as a "Voluntary Agricultural District". I've lived here all my life and the thing that puzzles me is - where is the "Involuntary" agricultural district? ;)


Feb 03, 2007 12:12 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


This is great information.  I've taken and published thousands of photos over the 12 years that I've been on the Internet.  I've had three home owners object.  If they ask nicely, I take the photo down.  If they get nasty, I still take it down because it isn't worth giving a home owner angst over one photo. 

Neighborhood photos were very helpful before IDX because then we could link to lisitngs with photos of home and since that is all folks want to see anyway, it works.  But, web pages with photos still make folks smile.

Someone above said that most of the advice that we can't take and use photos on our web sites comes from agents.  They are right, in which case, I suggest that they follow their own advice.  I'll follow mine.

Great first post.

Lenn, Homefinders.com

Feb 03, 2007 12:12 AM

 Christopher, great post.  I'm off to take photos this weekend for Localism.  Welcome to AR.


Kay Van Kampen TeamKayVanKampen.com


Feb 03, 2007 06:12 AM
Asdf Jkll
Asdf - Bothell, WA


Great post with an invaluable resource included. Thank you!

My mother studied in Moscow in the early to mid-1970's. The police there wouldn't allow any photos of ANY public buildings or transportation. It's a little disheartening that in the 35 or so years that have passed, we haven't progressed all that much.

Feb 03, 2007 06:55 AM
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Christopher - your post made me think about all the pictures I've taken over time, and not once have I been asked to stop.  But if I ever do get aaked that, I'll have the info you shared with us tucked into my camera bag.  That is a great link to have access to, and I thank you for sharing that with us.


Feb 03, 2007 08:37 AM
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
I've never even considered that. It makes sense though. Thanks for the enlightenment!
Feb 03, 2007 01:33 PM