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

Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
WSJ Investigates Hikvision on Nov 13, 2017
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has released a detailed investigation into Hikvision's government ownership and cybersecurity problems, hitting the...
Genetec Citigraf Big Data Platform Analyzed on Oct 26, 2017
A big industry debate is whether VMS software is now a commodity. However, Genetec believes it can charge a substantial premium for higher-end...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Exporting Video Surveillance Tutorial on Oct 05, 2017
Exporting video surveillance is important when incidents or crimes occur. However, there are multiple ways to export video which have their pros...
ASIS Show 2017 Final Report on Sep 27, 2017
ASIS is in Dallas for 2017 and this is our final show report (compare to our 2016 ASIS show report). When walking in, one is greeted with Dahua's...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Amazon Key In-Home Package Delivery Examined on Nov 21, 2017
Interesting idea or invitation for criminals to rob you? Amazon's recent announcement of Key, a service that will help manage visitors, welcoming...
Top Maglock Provider Warns Against Using Maglocks on Nov 21, 2017
Do not buy my company's product. It sounds strange indeed, but a senior Allegion consultant stated that maglocks should not be used in common...
CBR vs VBR vs MBR - Surveillance Streaming on Nov 21, 2017
How you stream video has a major impact on quality and bandwidth. And it is not simply CODEC choice (e.g., H.264 vs H.265). Regardless of the...
Dahua Hard-Coded Credentials Vulnerability on Nov 20, 2017
A newly discovered Dahua backdoor is described by the researcher discovering it as: not the result of an accidental logic error or poor...
Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
Amazon Cloud Cam Is Poor (Tested) on Nov 17, 2017
Retail behemoth Amazon has entered the surveillance market with the Amazon Cloud Cam, the eyes of its just-announced Amazon Key delivery...
Nest Secure Alarm System Tested on Nov 16, 2017
Google's expansion continues, this time into home security with their Nest subsidiary's move into alarm systems. They paid more than a...
Dahua Forbes 'Next Web Crisis' Vulnerability Dispute on Nov 16, 2017
The buffer overflow vulnerability in Dahua products is not in dispute, in fact we covered it when it was first published. What is in dispute is...
Isonas Cofounders Split, Launch Partner/Competitor on Nov 16, 2017
Breaking up is hard to do, especially when door access security is at stake. But that is exactly what has happened at Isonas. Senior employees...

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