Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged crime

A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit’s east side on July 21.

Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed.

“Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department,” Chief James Craig said Monday.

Now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department and his 42-year-old buddy from the police academy, who is a former DPD cop and 17-year veteran of the St. Clair Shores Police Department. The later recently received a distinguished service award.

“In fact, they were police officers, just not working on-duty at the time,” Craig said.

Fox 2 News Headlines


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TSA employee Eric Richard Dunlap was arrested at Columbia Regional Airport parking lot last week for felony theft.

Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Bernhard said the arrest took place after what he called a Department of Homeland Security honesty check. As part of the honesty check, a DHS official posed as a traveler gave Dunlap a bag with $500 inside, claiming he found it at the airport.

Bernhard said officials then saw Dunlap leave the airport Thursday morning with the bag and arrested him.
While, at first, this seems like a classic case of entrapment, the honesty check was only performed because Dunlap was already suspected of stealing.

Columbia Public Works Public Information Specialist Steven Sapp said the arrest came after reports from passengers at Columbia Regional had notified TSA and Department of Homeland Security officials that they believed items were missing from their bags. Officials then identified Dunlap, the employee suspected of removing the items from their bags, after reviewing video surveillance footage.

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John Anton discovered a hidden camera in a piece of wood in his Dalworthington Gardens, Texas home. The camera, roughly the size of a matchbox, was used to stakeout hig-end homes. After the police performed their own stakeout, they arrested 21-year old Cain Santoyo. Dalworthington Gardens police detective Ben Singleton said it was a part of a sophisticated burglary scheme that had been running for a long time.

Shortly after midnight, they caught 21-year-old Cain Santoyo. Search warrants on his car and Grand Prairie home revealed evidence including lock-picking tools, police scanners, a disguise, a combination flashlight/stun gun, and a total of nine cameras loaded with surveillance video.

Officers also seized computer data and a motion detector rigged to a small radio transmitter. Singleton said that could be used to alert a burglar inside a house, giving them time to get away.

Inside Santoyo’s house, police said they found jewelry hidden in an attic crawlspace.

But they think that almost everything that was stolen has already been sold on the Internet. They say they won’t know the extent of the damage until they get responses on subpoenas issued to several online sites.

Police expect multiple burglary charges to be filed. For now, Santoyo is held on a charge of unlawful interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications.

Singleton said it’s illegal to record audio and video of two parties who are not aware they are being recorded.

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The city of Atlanta, Georgia is home to the Video Integration Center, allowing city police to monitor over a hundred public and private CCTV cameras. This isn’t enough, however, for the police. They want more monitoring.

Talks are underway to link up with more cameras at CNN Center, Georgia State University, the Georgia World Congress Center and MARTA, along with cameras in Buckhead.

Officials say hundreds or thousands more private-sector cameras will eventually feed into the center.

“This is just the beginning,” said Dave Wilkinson, president of the Atlanta Police Foundation, which helped raise money for the center. “This is going to grow by leaps and bounds over the years. The goal, of course, is to have the entire city blanketed.”

Officials insist cameras linked to the center will only watch areas the public could already see. The city’s law department is drafting rules for the center, Ferguson said.

Unfortunately, officials are not talking to each other as you cannot blanket a city yet only have cameras where the public can already see. The two statements are incompatible. Yet, city officials are okay with tracking innocent people as they go about their daily lives.

“I should hope the public is not okay with it,” said Brett Bittner, executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. “We’re talking about filming every aspect of people’s lives once they step out of the house.”

This is never acceptable and it doesn’t help fight crime. One only need to look at the massive test case of the United Kingdom where people are already on camera once they leave their homes. Crime hasn’t dropped there as a result of intruding cameras at all.

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More cities and states are fighting back against the use and misuse of red light cameras.

Opponents of the cameras often argue that they are really just revenue engines for struggling cities and towns, silently dinging motorists for mostly minor infractions. And while guidelines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say revenue is an invalid justification for the use of the eyes in the sky (see box at right), camera-generated citations do spin off a lot of money in many cities — the nearly 400 cameras in Chicago, for example, generated more than $64 million in 2009, the last year for which complete figures were available.

Los Angeles hasn’t been so lucky.

The city gets only a third of the revenue generated by camera citations, many of which go unpaid anyway because judges refuse to enforce them, the city controller’s office reported last year. It found in an audit that if you add it all up, operating the cameras has cost $1 million to $1.5 million a year more than they’ve generated in fines, even as “the program has not been able to document conclusively an increase in public safety.”

Studies have shown that red light cameras increase accidents. Lengthening the time of a yellow light actually decreases accidents. Unfortunately, most places that install red light cameras decrease the yellow light time in order for more tickets to be produced, thus making driving around the red light camera more dangerous.

Red light cameras continue to be a bane to drivers. There is no right to face your accuser, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence, and little due process.

Red light cameras have been and always will be money generators. They are not about safety. Until this actually changes, cities are going to be hard-pressed to convince people they are about anything except revenue.

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