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

Related Reports on Police

Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
Infinova's Xinjiang Business Examined on Dec 07, 2018
As pressure mounts for companies to stop doing business in China’s Xinjiang region amid a severe human rights crisis, IPVM has found Infinova sold...
ADT Wins Fire Death Suit But Faces Appeal on Dec 05, 2018
ADT/Protection 1 has won a wrongful death court case in which it was sued by the estate of a deceased customer. However, the attorney for the...
Evidence of Dahua's Involvement In Xinjiang Surveillance on Nov 28, 2018
IPVM adds new details about Dahua’s activities in Xinjiang, a Chinese region where mass surveillance used to facilitate grave human rights...
Pressure Mounts Against Dahua and Hikvision Xinjiang Business on Nov 19, 2018
Pressure is mounting against Hikvision, Dahua, and other companies operating in Xinjiang as an international outcry brews against the Chinese...
Directory of Access Control and Intrusion Startups on Oct 30, 2018
This directory catalogs access control and intrusion detection startups IPVM has found noteworthy. The directory is provided for your review to...
IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...
Evidence Of Hikvision's Involvement With Xinjiang IJOP And Re-Education Camps on Oct 02, 2018
IPVM reveals as-yet unreported details about Hikvision’s activities in Xinjiang - a region of China where massive human rights abuses are being...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Exacq Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 17, 2019
Exacq favorability amongst integrators has declined sharply, in new IPVM statistics, compared to 2017 IPVM statistics for Exacq. Now, over 5 since...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
2019 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 14, 2019
The new IP Networking Book 2019 is a 285 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...

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