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clear up San Francisco from digital camera thefts


If you happen to 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 common sense options to an issue that’s gotten method out of hand.

You already know that thieves in San Francisco (and elsewhere) are smashing the home windows of vehicles to rob stuff, sensing that the police gained’t chase or arrest them. Photographers have been adopted by thieves, had their gear taken, which received shortly resold on the streets. They simply transfer laptops in broad daylight, and regardless 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 wash issues up, together with the mayor, board of supervisors, district legal professional and police, as you’ll see within the reviews.

The tales:

You most likely recall that I used to be robbed of my digital 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 images 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 exhausting 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 instances earlier than I received a response.

“The plates had been stolen,” he advised 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 individuals from out of city will probably be lugging numerous worthy stuff.

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

The cop additionally stated precise thefts of in-person digital camera gear was uncommon, (regardless of high-profile reviews 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 dangerous press for the “smash and grabs” regardless of a easy Google search displaying them elsewhere as nicely, 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 in command of a metropolis getting that sort of damaging 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 drawback is of extra concern than fundamental 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 going through a recall vote in June and insists that his workplace has had a better prosecution fee than his predecessor. However as a result of he’s introduced a coverage of fewer prosecutions for lower-level crimes, he’s turn into the poster boy as Smash and Seize Enemy #1, at the very least to critics. Police have stated they’re reluctant to make arrests, as a result of Boudin gained’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. Answer: change the legal guidelines.

Lots of the officers put blame on legal guidelines which can be stated to have made the scenario worse, like decreasing legal 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 successful ticket once 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 distributors. Requiring a allow for avenue merchandising, as has been instructed is just not going to cease the re-selling of theft. Answer: If these distributors wish to be in retail, have them open a bodily retailer, and require each used product bought to be categorized with serial numbers filed with town.

E-commerce resellers like Amazon, eBay, Craigslist need to play ball. They can’t proceed to re-sell units with out proof of possession. (The eBay assertion on stolen items is laughable. The corporate “doesn’t enable” it, and the punishment is that you simply gained’t be capable to promote something on eBay anymore. )

Digital camera corporations have to put in safeguards. As has been talked about a number of instances, 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 flip them into bricks as soon as 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 dangerous 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 accessible to really arrest individuals would possibly make thieves assume twice about doing what they’re doing.

Watch the KGO reviews 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 Writer

Jefferson Graham is a Los Angeles-based writer-photographer, the host of the “Photowalks” journey pictures collection on YouTube, and co-host of the iPhone Picture Present podcast, a former USA TODAY tech columnist and dealing photographer. You will discover extra of Jeff’s work on his web siteFbInstagramYouTube, and Twitter. This text was additionally printed right here and shared with permission.



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