Caught by Surveillance: Exclusive Interview

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Dec 31, 2013

'Taylor' was born and raised in Chicago. A senior in high school, he lives in the same house he grew up in, is a varsity athlete and was just accepted to a top college. He is also part of a well-known Chicago tagging crew and was arrested for vandalism and trespassing after tagging the top of a building at two in the morning. He was caught after the building owners released the footage to law enforcement.

We talked to him about his experience in our first installment of a series examining surveillance from the other side of the lens -- from the people who got caught.

Getting Caught

A few weeks after he tagged the side of a high-rise apartment building in Chicago, the owners of the building posted a video of the incident online on their YouTube channel. 

This is his "trademark:"

Taylor says within a couple weeks of the video going online and being passed around, a friend recognized him in it and emailed him the link to the video.

The video "gave the address, and it had my art and my tag name. It said something like ‘If you have seen this person, contact us and they had a number for the local cop who was on the case,’” he said. A month later, Taylor was contacted by law enforcement.


“I think it was one of my neighbors who turned me in,” he said. “I grew up in the same house all my life so everyone in my building knows me. One is a police officer so I’m pretty sure he somehow corroborated with the detective on the case. I think that's the only logical way they would have gotten me."

He was in jail for seven hours before his mom bonded him out. At his court date weeks later, the case was dropped after the owners of the building didn’t show up to testify.

Camera Placement

He had no idea he'd been caught on camera. After saw the video, he went back to the rooftop to see where it was. It was a dome camera mounted on a wall opposite where he'd tagged. The field of view encompassed the whole wall, a 10-15 foot field of view, the exact size of his graffiti piece.

“It was slick of them to put it there. I think they probably put it there to catch people doing graffiti, because that building is one people have painted before,” he said. He says the footage was “mad clear” black and white, nighttime footage that showed the process from start to finish.

Perception of Surveillance Before and After the Crime

He’d tagged lots of spaces around Chicago before this one and cameras had never crossed his mind before.

“It’s not really the first thing you think about,” he said. He still tags but says he’s much more vigilant now. A lot of his crew’s work is based around transit and CTA but as the transit system has increased the number of cameras, he says it’s gotten harder too find unwatched places. That is only a partial deterrent, however.

“The trains all have cameras around them now, but I don’t really care because there’s a lot of other people doing it, and they aren’t live feeds. They don’t really take the time to catch people. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and they would have come and got me if they were,” he said.

“I’m used to seeing security footage on TV and what it shows is usually pretty grainy, but that showed me taking the paint out of my bag, doing the outline, going back over it, taking pictures of it... It was better footage than I expected they could ever get of me,” he said.

Privacy

Even with a new generation of citizens growing up with cameras around them, they are still mixed feelings about their prevalence.

“I hate police but the police also do a lot of good. I got in trouble, and I understand that in some crimes footage can help catch people, but at the same time I think everyone has a right to privacy," he said. "I understand some businesses having them, but there shouldn’t be a camera in the lobby of my apartment building. They should be in places like sports stadiums and airports and buildings that house something valuable, but they shouldn’t be omnipresent in society. They should be put where they are needed and not just there to be there."

A recent photo he posted online:

 

Comments (12): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Police

Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...
Neurala Deep Learning Platform Profile on Aug 31, 2017
Find lost children? If Neurala has its way with its recent partnership with Motorola, that is the aim as shown in their video below: Neurala has...
ShotSpotter IPOs, Facing Low Revenue and Losses on Jun 09, 2017
A rare event for North American security manufacturers has happened. ShotSpotter has IPOed on the NASDAQ, raising $30.8 million. US IPOs,...
Shark Tank Startup Guard Llama Mobile Panic Tested on May 16, 2017
A Shark Tank TV show appearance has attracted big attention for Guard Llama, a security startup touting a 'panic button' paired with mobile app...
Mobile Video Installation Statistics on May 02, 2017
Mobile video systems - those mounted on buses, trains, cars, boats, etc. - are a niche within video surveillance with its own particular...
Duress Codes For Alarms Systems on May 02, 2017
An alarm system can call for help in the event of an attempted break in, but only if it is armed. If an adversary forces an authorized user to...
Burglar Alarm Zoning Guide on Apr 28, 2017
The function of an alarm panel is to gather information from sensors and respond to this information by triggering actions. While it is possible to...
A Marketing Home Run For Knightscope - Man Attacks Robot on Apr 27, 2017
We criticize Knightscope regularly - their lack of revenue, their trying to fool mom 'n pop investors, their associating themselves with a clueless...
Burglar Alarm Strobes Guide on Mar 31, 2017
Strobes provide visual notification of alarm incidents, as sirens are used to give audible notification. Using a strobe gives alarm users and alarm...
Simplisafe Warns Customers About Alarm Fines on Mar 17, 2017
Simplisafe markets themselves as a 'better way' than traditional professional alarm companies. However, in one key way, Simplisafe hides the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

SkyBell Trim & Slim Models Tested on Sep 25, 2017
Given continued growth of video doorbells and the central role Skybell plays in smarthome packages like Alarm.com and Honeywell Total Connect, we...
Hackers Globally Attacking Dahua Recorders on Sep 25, 2017
Dahua recorders are being hacked and vandalized around the world, as confirmed by dozens of reports to IPVM since the attacks surged 5 days...
Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact