Placebo against Crime

Last updated: 2021-12-30

Context

Events described here were set in a context of targeted harassment and hate crimes. I address that separately. Here I just want to discuss the police "effort".

"Just Kids"

After I moved to Christchurch my letter box was being raided daily while I was at work. I would only know something was missing when I find the addressed envelopes, blowing down the road and parcels never arrived. At night they would tag my property with graffiti. The police dismissed it as "just kids" and all they would do, was to file another report. Monitoring the situation is what they call that.

Back then I would take my nephew and later also my son to weekly Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments. I thought it an intelligent and exciting game of strategy that would teach them to think logically, but sadly the most effective cards were rare and expensive. One day I was unloading my shopping and a passing kid snatched my nephews card collection, the culmination of all his pocket money and gifts of a year or two that I hadn't even realized he had left under the car seat! Apparently I had unwittingly moved to one of the worst crime areas in town (curse the estate agent)!

I soon learned that talking to the police was a waste of time for everyone and so I rarely bothered after a while. However all this stopped when I installed a security camera. The actual recordings turned out to be utterly useless, but the perpetrators didn't know that. Thus for a while the camera acted as a deterrent. Here I've selected a relevant insight from a video by an ex police officer.

Theft of Security Camera

Then about 3:30am one night, bumping and thumping sounds awaken me. I see two athletic tall young people. One standing of the shoulders of the other holding on to the drain pipe near my security camera. I rush out in my onesies to see them dissappear down the driveway with the camera. One of them looks over his shoulder and I glimpsed his face clearly: Curly dark locks of hair protruding from his hoodie, very dark skin and his front teeth prominent, bugs-bunny style. On the back of their black hoodies are white letters, and I suspect they harbour some kind of gangster aspirations, but I can't makeout what it says.

I dial 111 and ask for police. I go through a frustrating session of spelling my name and the street name too, letter by letter to a call center operator up in Auckland. She clearly has no idea about areas in Christchurch.

I accidentally said that they ripped my security camera down and just 'fucking' ran off with it. The operator launches into a tirade about using respectful language. I say I'm sorry. I explain I am still hyped up and that it wasn't aimed at her. She embarks on another pedantic lecture concerning acceptable working conditions. TBH I felt sorely tempted to suggest they replace her with a robot that will be more efficient and less likely to take umbrage at people who are distressed, but I decide against that, and so the police do actually turn up about 20 minutes later.

Alas, the officer then spends the next half hour talking on the phone about a disturbance elsewhere. Eventually he addresses me, and asks whether the premisses had been breeched. I said 'No, they just took my security camera'. (This time being particulaly attentive to avoid the 'F' word). "That's all good then!" the officer snorts, and off he goes on his way to said domestic dispute elsewhere.

Now I think that stealing a security camera might indicate they were planning further misdemeanors against me in the near future. Later I learned that the conditions would have been ideal to use sniffer dogs to track down the perpetrators, but as far as I can tell, police didn't even try to find out who these young lads with distinctive white writing on their backs might have been. All they actually seem to do is to file another report and then forget about it.

in the hood

I myself certainly did notice some wearing hoodies just like it, walking past every day after that. Typically they have their hoods up, even on a warm summer day. I suspect it's so you can't see their face from the side. When I did finally get a new camera I even recorded one, evidently still in the area strolling past and not in the slightest concerned it might identify him.

Car Thefts

I had recently watched a documentary on a police sting action against car thefts in Auckland. They were using tracking devices in strategically placed vehicles. It was very successful and I thought it would become an effective deterent. Alas the conclusion of the documentarty was that the program was cancelled, because the judiciary had set all the thieves free declaring it entrapment.

I thought certainly if they had left doors unlocked with the key in the ignition and a fat wallet on the dash board, then entrapment - fair enough, but that's NOT what the police were doing. The intention of someone who breaks into a locked car and hot wires it is clear and it's rather sad when a judge can't understand that it's not about legal technicalities, but protecting the public from crime. I do understand why the Auckland police just gave up after that.

2021-08-04-burnt-car-3

Here in Christchurch, car thefts are common place and I often come across the abandopned burnt out wrecks. They take them for joy-rides, for ram raids, as get-away vehicles and for transporting stolen goods. IOW it's not just the crime of car theft that is of concern!

One evening someone broke into my car and tried to hot-wire it. Alas it has an immobilizer so they failed, but they totally wrecked the ignition system as well as damaging the immobilizer. I reported it to the police, but they didn't see any point in coming to look, not even for finger prints. Having it towed away and repaired was costly and my 3rd party, fire and theft insurance wouldn't cover it as it was none of those.

Crime: an instrument of fear.

Police 105

Police focus has shifted over the years. Here is a recent recording of non-emergency police 105 line: Today they are more interested in empowering Jacinda's social credit snitch society to persecute heinous (sarcasm) mask deniers and lockdown defiers.

I reported, a resurgence of online slander, out right lies and fabricated allegations with cyber threats that expressed their intention to instigate further hate crimes against me from my surrounding community.

instigating hate in the community

This kind of thing had occurred a few years back with damaging consequences while odious cyber trolls guffaw in glee at the distress they can cause with impunity.

One of these cowards had now already abused animal control with 'dog nuiance' complaints angainst my Lucy, even though they don't live in this part of town. Despite all the reports that police must have on file by now they didn't think it was worth their time.

police114102021-advice
creating the false narrative

I have on occasion mentioned that certain people who had attacked me, or my property looked like they were Maori and the police had told me it was a useful part of the description to help identify perpetrators, not racist at all. As for allegations of colonists, I was raised abroad and nothing I've ever owned was a result of colonialism, yet if Maori communities are indeed being incited with hateful allegations, then that makes it all the more likely they would be vindictively targeting me.

When I conceded that I had no proof of their ethnicity the trolls jumped at the opportunity to then imply yet more raaacism. These shit stirrers seem to be intent on causing division, and escalating hostilities until someone gets hurt and current government policies are like pouring fuel on the fire.

I personally don't think anyone should have to live in fear day after day, year after year in their own home, so with such a flippant dismissal from police, I must be prepared to exercise my right to self defense.

Police deal with a Burglary

I had popped out to get a prescription about mid day, but 30 minutes later arriving home I found we had been burgled. I phoned the police to report the crime, but they just gave me a phone number for victim support. It took days and several reminders from me, before they reluctantly came to look at the scene. They found no fingerprints and they had already said it was highly unlikely they would.

serial numbers

I did provide them with a list of the stolen items including all the serial numbers of the cameras and lenses that had been taken, but I did also wonder how, when and where they would ever have an oportunity to check for them. I decided to circulate the details to some local pawn shops like Cash Converters and other second hand camera dealers, but to no avail. I joined local buy/sell groups on Facebook and kept an eye on Trademe too for a while. It would be so much easier for a victim of crime to do a search on secondhand sales if dealers were required to publish the serial number.

Records of Stolen Items

If the police made their database of serial numbers searchable, every second hand dealer would be able to check for stolen items and protect themselves from trading in stolen goods the moment they were offered to them. This could become a significant deterrent to thieves. I was aware of the "SNAP" initiative. Despite their snazzy accronym and the slogan together we can beat burglary and stop the trade in stolen property!" I was not impressed: Said database was not searchable by anyone (not even by the police) and it wouldn't check when new serial numbers are added if those had been reported previously. IOW it was utterly useless! I'm really not surprised SNAP is being decommissioning come December (2021).

I decided to write my own. It took a few days to make a proto-type and then I tried to get feed-back from other camera owners what they thought of it. Alas, the only evidence of anyone taking any notice were some rather persistent SQL injection hack attempts (Those all failed). Much more recently a police offcer told me that few people bother with serial numbers. I presume all they really care about is getting their insurance claim rubber stamped. Together, the police and the thieves effectively become the insurance policy sales team. My son who has worked in the insurance industry told me that camera insurance claims are most frequent just after an improved model is released. The insurane racket has degenerated into profiteering scam and they simply pass the costs on in their policy fees.

Mysteriously, even though I've never put in any insurance claims ever, AEG, the underwriter for most insurance companies here in NZ has apparently black-listed me and so I can't get insurance at all. Perhaps someone has informed them I'm being targeted. No doubt many will dismiss that as a paranoid conspiracy theory, but I can think of no other explanation. The insurance Ombudsman might shed some light on it, but I have very low expectations for a fruitful result.

Finder

I did discover there are some private initatives and I was impressed by how easy they are to use. Even if you didn't ever write down your camera serial number, for many brands, like my Fuji X-T10, all you need is to drag and drop an image taken with the camera. Besides reporting if it's registered, the service also promisses to scour the internet, looking for images and checking if any came from a camera that was reported. Alas cyber dens of inequity, like Facebook, aid and abet the criminals by stipping out identifying information "for privacy reasons". I think if they do that, then they should have the decency to check it first and report stolen equpment to the relevant authority.

Camera Found 2021

I was very depressed for some time and completely lost my entusiasm for my newly found photography passion, what with all the horrid allegations of me "taking pictures of tamariki" being circulated. To this day I am convinced it is why I was burgled.

Earlier this year I saw a QX1 for sale on TradeMe and I put in a bid. Nobody else bid, so I won the auction, but when it arrived I was suprised that my cell phone connected immediately, without any setup! Yes, you guessed it: I had just bought my very own camera back!

I was unable to get thru on the police non emergency 105 line and so I decided to walk all the way into town and report it because I wanted to talk to them. They filed an update to my original report and said they would investigate. A few weeks later they had done nothing at-all, so I investigated myself by politely asking the person who sold it to me where he got it from. The police then phoned me up saying it looked like it had changed hands many times and I would be unlikely to recover any of my other stolen items as if that were the end of it. However the guy on TradeMe had identified Ken's Cameras in Christchurch as the dealer who sold it to him so I contacted them. They responded that they contacted the police and had "passed on the details". I take that to mean that our marvelous (sarcasm) police detectives had not even bothered cantacting them despite the fact they were implicated and might well be able to help identify the criminals.

Police Dead End

To cut a long story short, after countless calls and even threatening to take Ken's Cameras to court, finally the police leave a voice message on my phone.

I suspect lens style cameras like my QX1 are not popular with elderly gentlemen and I wonder what else was in that storage facility of his. Was it being used by members of a whanau of thieves, and on what basis did the unidentified person who sold it to Ken get to have it in the first place? Also, did it still have my Sony Macro Lens attached? Those are worth a lot of money, a lot more than the camera, but I bet the cops didn't even bother asking about that!

What Next?

Kens Cameras

I'm now contemplating taking Ken's Cameras to small claims court. It's a lot of effort in a system that seems to be corrupt and rotten to the core, but if anything, people who profit from trading in stolen goods should be required to refund the value to the victim and pay for the cost of legal proceedings too if they refuse. I also want Ken's records and those of the others in the chain to be searched for evidence of my Macro lens, and my Fuji Camera and other indicators of criminal activities.

It's not just about money. It's about emotional trauma and the ongoing threat of being targeted again. Previously I had gone to our local politician with ideas to make police databases searchable by the public and ask that online second hand dealers be required to include serial numbers in their adverts. Ruth Dyson made lots of positive squawking sounds, but wouldn't even tell me who I might address it to in government. She was, like most politicians just a vacuous facade, but as far as I'm concerned this is simply not good enough.