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How you can clear up San Francisco from digital camera thefts


For those who missed the explosive report by KGO-TV reporter Dan Noyes on the theft epidemic in San Francisco, I wish to each share his tales, and provide some commonsense options to an issue that’s gotten approach out of hand.

You recognize that thieves in San Francisco (and elsewhere) are smashing the home windows of vehicles to rob stuff, sensing that the police received’t chase or arrest them. Photographers have been adopted by thieves, had their gear taken, which received rapidly resold on the streets. They simply transfer laptops in broad daylight, and despite the fact that they’ve been recorded on video doing so, town continues to permit it to occur, with few arrests.

As you’ll see within the KGO report, even footage of the transactions shot by a involved neighbor was met with indifference by the San Francisco Police Dept.

Each stakeholder concerned blames one other division. Nobody will take duty, nor do something significant to scrub issues up, together with the mayor, board of supervisors, district legal professional and police, as you’ll see within the studies.

The tales:

You in all probability recall that I used to be robbed of my camera gear in 2021 throughout a shoot in San Francisco. I used to be filming solo, speaking into the digital camera, when a thief with an enormous grin on his face ran up, yanked my digital camera, tripod and microphones in what appeared to be like 2 seconds, shoved it right into a getaway automobile and fled the scene.

Some spectators received photographs of their license plate, and I reported the crime to a member of the U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over Crissy Subject, a part of the Nationwide Park Service. The officer assured me that I’d by no means see my stuff once more, took down the knowledge in a blase method, and was very onerous to achieve afterwards. I needed to know if they’d checked the license plate and whether or not an arrest was made. I needed to name him over 5 occasions earlier than I received a response.

“The plates had been stolen,” he instructed me. Finish of story.

So what to do in the event you go to San Francisco? I known as a San Francisco cop this week to ask simply that, and the very first thing he suggested was to not have a rental automobile. They’re an enormous attraction for thieves to smash and seize, as a result of they know folks from out of city will likely be lugging a number of worthy stuff.

Resolution: in the event you come to go to, take an Uber!

The cop additionally mentioned precise thefts of in-person digital camera gear was uncommon, (regardless of high-profile reports that say in any other case) however that pick-pocketing was on the rise, and to watch out about that.

San Francisco appears to get the lions share of unhealthy press for the “smash and grabs” regardless of a easy Google search exhibiting them elsewhere as well, together with Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Nonetheless, Google “digital camera robbed” and the primary web page of outcomes all are in San Francisco and the Bay Space.

If I used to be accountable for a metropolis getting that type of destructive publicity, I might be motivated to give you methods to place an finish to it, as a substitute of passing the buck.

So right here’s what I might do.

Clear home!

San Francisco wants a brand new mayor, DA, head of police and board of supervisors. Throw the bums out. What downside is of extra concern than primary security? If these people wish to proceed denying their duty (as they do within the KGO report) and never give you significant options, they shouldn’t be allowed to stay on the job. (The reform minded DA, Chesa Boudin, is dealing with a recall vote in June and insists that his workplace has had the next prosecution charge than his predecessor. However as a result of he’s introduced a coverage of fewer prosecutions for lower-level crimes, he’s change into the poster boy as Smash and Seize Enemy #1, a minimum of to critics. Police have mentioned they’re reluctant to make arrests, as a result of Boudin received’t prosecute them.)

Nevertheless it’s not simply San Francisco. Add Walnut Creek, San Jose, Oakland and different California communities which have additionally been sufferer to high-profile smash and grabs. Resolution: change the legal guidelines.

Lots of the officers put blame on legal guidelines which can be mentioned to have made the state of affairs worse, like decreasing felony sentences for nonviolent crimes like shoplifting (Prop. 47) or not permitting the cops to chase for property crime. Critics say the brand new legal guidelines work. Someplace within the center is the reality.

If I used to be an enterprising politician, I might know a profitable ticket after I noticed it—change the legal guidelines, silly!

No avenue distributors allowed. You and I do know that many avenue distributors have been promoting stolen and counterfeit items for years on makeshift tables. Why are we permitting avenue merchandising within the first place? Aren’t the streets crowded sufficient as they’re? SF lately handed laws to regulate the vendors. Requiring a allow for avenue merchandising, as has been prompt isn’t going to cease the re-selling of theft. Resolution: If these distributors wish to be in retail, have them open a bodily retailer, and require each used product offered to be categorized with serial numbers filed with town.

E-commerce resellers like Amazon, eBay, Craigslist must play ball. They can’t proceed to re-sell devices without proof of ownership. (The eBay assertion on stolen items is laughable. The corporate “doesn’t allow” it, and the punishment is that you simply received’t be capable of promote something on eBay anymore. )

Digital camera corporations have to put in safeguards. As has been talked about a number of occasions, Nikon, Canon, Sony and their ilk want to assist the individuals who pay 1000’s of {dollars} to purchase their gear by inserting expertise that may monitor the cameras and turn them into bricks once stolen, like Apple does with the iPhone.

Rent extra police. A number of photographers had their gear stolen from them bodily when visiting Twin Peaks in San Francisco, a distant part of town that doesn’t have a lot police presence. It’s so unhealthy that 2 native TV reporters went up there to do tales in regards to the rampant crime, and had their cameras stolen from them at gunpoint whereas reporting. Extra women and men in uniform obtainable to truly arrest folks may make thieves suppose twice about doing what they’re doing.

Watch the KGO studies and let me know your response. What adjustments would you be making? Something I missed? I’d love to listen to from you.

In regards to the Creator

Jefferson Graham is a Los Angeles-based writer-photographer, the host of the “Photowalks” journey images sequence on YouTube, and co-host of the iPhone Photo Show podcast, a former USA TODAY tech columnist and dealing photographer. You will discover extra of Jeff’s work on his websiteFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter. This text was additionally revealed here and shared with permission.




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