Caught by Surveillance: Exclusive Interview

By: 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 (11) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

US Jail Uses China State Owned Fever Camera on Apr 30, 2020
Police in Ohio are boasting about their jail's new fever camera system, which...
These Florida Real Estate Agents Are Now Selling "SafeCheck USA" Temperature Detectors on Jul 09, 2020
The "Kakon Brothers", William and Nathan, are self-described "south Florida...
PRC Warns Against China Video Surveillance Hacks, Hikvision Targeted on Feb 14, 2020
Hackers are targeting China video surveillance manufacturers and systems,...
China Manufacturer Suffers Coronavirus Scare on Feb 20, 2020
Uniview suffered a significant health scare last week after one of its...
Low Voltage Nation Wants to "Help You Carve Out A Fulfilling Career" Interviewed on Jul 06, 2020
It is difficult to make your way in this industry as there is little formal...
Verkada Coronavirus Response: Free Temp Systems For Government and Health Care on Apr 07, 2020
Verkada has built a reputation on giving away things for free - free Yeti...
ProCam Low-Cost Open Thermal Temperature Project on May 12, 2020
An engineering professor in Switzerland is building what he hopes will be the...
Startup Calipsa Presents AI False Alarm Filtering on Jul 21, 2020
Calipsa presented its AI false alarm filtering platform at the 2020 IPVM...
Camera Course Summer 2020 - Last Chance on Jul 18, 2020
This is your last chance to register for the Summer 2020 Camera Course. This...
Colombia's President Promotes Bad Hikvision Fever Camera Setup on Jun 17, 2020
Colombia's President Iván Duque has promoted a haphazard Hikvision fever...
Ivy League Grads Present Percepta Shoplifting Detection on Jun 17, 2020
Ivy League graduates of the University of Pennsylvania presented their...
ADT Changing Model To Work From Home on May 12, 2020
ADT is 146 years old but the mega-company is making a bold move, in the face...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM...
China Surveillance Vulnerabilities Being Used To Attack China, Says China on Apr 07, 2020
While China video surveillance vulnerabilities have been much debated in the...
Coronavirus Impacting Hikvision and China Manufacturers on Feb 03, 2020
The coronavirus epidemic spreading through China has started to impact video...

Recent Reports

Video Analytics Online Show September 2020 Opened - Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, BriefCam, Genetec, Milestone + 30 More on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature 35+ Video Analytics companies...
The German Company Powering Many China Temperature Tablets (Heimann) on Aug 12, 2020
Many fever tablet suppliers market German-made Heimann thermal sensors while...
Salesforce Drops Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 12, 2020
Salesforce has dropped Dahua and Hikvision as customers, forcing the two mega...
Access Control Course Fall 2020 - Register Now - Save $50 Last Chance on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the...
Genetec CEO Declares "We Don't Negotiate Payment With Patent Trolls" on Aug 11, 2020
Are patent trolls like terrorists? Genetec's CEO is coming out strongly...
Hanwha AI Analytics Camera Tested on Aug 11, 2020
Hanwha has released their Wisenet P AI camera, adding person and vehicle...
Alabama Schools Million Dollar Hikvision Fever Camera Deal on Aug 11, 2020
The Baldwin County, Alabama public schools purchased a $1 million, 144-camera...
Dahua Taunts Australian Government, Continues To Sell Illegal Fever Cameras on Aug 10, 2020
Dahua is effectively taunting the Australian government by continuing to sell...
HID Releases VertX Replacement Aero on Aug 10, 2020
HID is replacing two established and broadly supported types of access...
NDAA Compliant Video Surveillance Whitelist on Aug 10, 2020
This report aggregates video surveillance products that manufacturers have...
Telpo China Temperature Tablets Tested on Aug 10, 2020
The provider for overseas companies ranging from Canon Singapore to US'...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Camera Showcased by Chilean City on Aug 07, 2020
Deploying a fever camera outdoors, in the rain, with no black body, is...
"Grand Slam" For Pelco's PE Firm, A Risk For Motorola on Aug 07, 2020
The word "Pelco" and "grand slam" have not been said together for many years....
FLIR Stock Falls, Admits 'Decelerating' Demand For Temperature Screening on Aug 07, 2020
Is the boom going to bust for temperature screening? FLIR disappointed...
VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...