8
$\begingroup$

Consider a heavily urbanized society with modern or near future technology with hybrid visual/infrared security cameras in all public areas and most stores, restaurants, office buildings, etc. These cameras are capable of performing facial recognition (aided with thermal cameras and skin texture recognition algorithms to defeat efforts at disguise). While they are not usually monitored, once a crime happens, the police will look at the footage at the crime scene, and follow the perpetrator forwards (to where they went) and backwards (to where they came from) in time in order to determine their identity and catch them. The police are relatively smart about this, and will not be defeated by simple countermeasures. If you destroy a camera, they will look at the last footage transmitted by the camera for anyone near it or anyone with a weapon, look at the footage for the cameras in the areas nearby and interrogate people, etc. If you leave your house with a mask on, they will simply track you back to your house and catch you. If you go into a bathroom stall or other area without cameras, put on a mask, then leave and commit the crime, they will track you back to the stall by viewing footage backwards (bathrooms also have cameras, just not the stalls), then watch the stall door until they see you entering.

The cameras are also difficult to hack. They have no signal receivers whatsoever, and cannot be sent commands remotely. Obtaining physical access to them is also difficult, as they are usually in elevated positions, as they spray fluorescent purple dye designed to be hard to wash off onto anyone accessing them without proper equipment, as passersby will see you doing it, and as most cameras are within the field of view of 2-3 other cameras which will spot you. The cameras are powered by electrical cables, but also have batteries which can last for 3 months without replacement for backup. They continuously broadcast their footage, and their footage is then captured and stored at multiple independent facilities. In case of a malfunction of these facilities, the cameras also store footage from the last several months, which can be downloaded by physically accessing the cameras with special equipment. The data centers can be hacked, of course, but there are many of them for each city which makes this difficult, and breaking through their security is difficult for all but the most resourceful criminals.

With this in mind, how would you as a street level criminal (or other enemy of the law) without access to advanced hacking tools, connections with law enforcement/high officials, and such defeat this surveillance?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can only imagine how many false positives such a system will get. lots of innocent people in prison because a movement predicting algorithm or facial recognition systems picked them out. then you have common crimes for which cameras won't matter like embezzlement and fraud. $\endgroup$ – John Feb 2 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ Re: Bathroom Cameras? How do you handle that men's room has Urinals, which are typically more exposed than bathroom stalls and men typically have an unwritten "urinal code" that grants a bit more privacy than typical Urinals but cannot be replicated by cameras (only use every other toilet, look straight ahead at all times, don't talk.) $\endgroup$ – hszmv Feb 4 at 14:08

11 Answers 11

7
$\begingroup$

The False Dilemma/False Dichotomy logic fallacy often presents as this black and white conditional. The reality of even this dire scenario is there are cracks and blind spots intrinsic to any absolute system.

There is a series that presented the absolute monitor to crime as a collection of mind-readers. In the series, the mind-readers eventually are blocked by a hood that didn't allow them to read the minds of the wearer. In your absolute monitor world, some kind of shield method or device would eventually be developed.

Technically, your system of cameras have multiple vulnerabilities in the systems. The cameras individually have limits and can be taken out. Even in scenarios where multiple cameras are deployed, there are blind spots as well as vulnerabilities to the critical ones. The messaging channels are also targets for interception and interference. The storage base has volume as well as retrieval challenges for all of that video content. It is not like simple data content.

The processing and enrichment of the video content is a potential backlog as you are spending enormous amounts of compute power for content about people following the law that will never require review. It all has to be processed to meet your criteria of finding every instance of one law-breaker where ever they have traveled.

3D printed masks have been shown capable of defeating facial recognition programs. Photographs also have been used to defeat facial recognition programs.

Often it isn't the street level criminal that has intents on such systems. Many movies show that the character gaining some level of pass on an absolute system is being helped to achieve a goal by someone with better access and abilities to bypass security protocols.

Simple things like construction can introduce blind spots and other camera challenges that didn't exist when the cameras were deployed. This would entail another channel of video enrichment that would have to be processed to minimize blind spots.

Sewers can be big bypasses to street/building video surveillance. Character could have a delivery system based on vehicles that hide their presence from the cameras, park over the access point to deliver them into the sewers, and when done, retrieve them allowing them to show up on camera where they belong and without any indication they were "missing".

There is a show on our clandestine spy techniques. The fellow in charge of our spy training studied magician sleight of hand and techniques and developed methods to transfer contraband, messages and even change costumes in highly challenging conditions. When the techniques being studied are built upon discoveries that are shared and enhanced by folks living under these conditions, they will develop techniques to avoid surveillance in interesting and useful ways.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ 3d printed masks would be minimally effective in this scenario . Even if you can hide who you are, the cameras can trace your route back to your home where a simple search warrant will produce all the evidence they need to convict you. Sewers are also much less traversable than holiwood would have you believe. Parking over hidden access points is a good solution though for certain kinds of crime. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Feb 4 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Which "home"? The one I entered wearing the mask then left wearing a different costume/mask or exited via another passage and then went to another "home" and repeated. While several others all exited the first "home" wearing the same masks and did similar diversionary routes. The more of this mask in circulation, the more confused the back-end enrichment becomes. When everyone becomes Guy Faulkes, who's who? $\endgroup$ – user72081 Feb 4 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ Use of masks could be effective, but this comes down to the issue of what a street criminal can orchestrate. Since the OP says even public bathrooms have cameras, I think your answer would be better if you addressed how a common criminal could find or orchestrate a place both public enough to have the traffic you need and also private enough to be unmonitored for such a switch-a-roo to work. If you assume you need a large conspiracy of complicit helpers, then it's not a street criminal, and just some random buddy's house won't have enough traffic to create any real uncertainty. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Feb 4 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Given a black and white scenario, the street criminal will be in jail. The trap is to not fall into the logic fallacy such situations present as... real life is always much more complex than that and while we don't live movie action lives, the grit of humanity when presented such circumstances will evolve with tactics intended to defeat the practices. Simple rebellion could be as simple as the same hair style shared by everyone in protest and meant to add a layer to the back end processing required to sort that out. $\endgroup$ – user72081 Feb 4 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ businessinsider.com/… $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Feb 4 at 21:57
3
$\begingroup$

Have one person, disguised in advance, arrive from out of town and neutralize all relevant cameras (shoot them with a black paintball gun or something) around the area. That person finishes the job and leaves (out of town). Police have no way to track them once they exit the limits of the city (and the cameras).

Then have your main criminals show up and do whatever they were planning to do. Afterwards, they disappear from the dead camera zone after blending in with the local crowd.

The cameras are not actively monitored, so the police won't be aware of all this until they are long gone.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Automatic monitoring for blackout / looped image seems trivial even at our current level of technology. $\endgroup$ – Igor G Feb 3 at 21:50
3
$\begingroup$

A drop in ordinary muggings, a shift to other forms of crime.

  • A rise in pickpocketing by teams. One blocks the camera with an umbrella, the other distracts the mark, the third does the theft.
  • A rise in crime against people who deliberately sought privacy. Some fool thought he'd get an one-night-stand his wife wouldn't know, instead he got relieved of his wallet.
  • A letter from a Nigerian prince.
  • A shoplifter who patches a barcode for a different, cheaper product onto the box.
  • No system is impossible to hack. It just takes more or less effort. If hacking is difficult, it would only be done for major crimes.
| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

I read a novella when I was young (40 years ago, so I'd have to do a story identification question over on Sci Fi and Fantasy to figure out the title or author) about a man who lived in a society with a system much like you describe who became obsessed with successfully committing a murder despite the obvious difficulty in doing so.

What he did was contrive a set of circumstances such that his behavior, from the perspective of the camera, appeared reasonable. He murdered his victim (Perhaps his wife? I can't remember for sure) while making it look like self-defense. The camera couldn't get into his mind, after all; and with careful planning the camera was made to see what he wanted it to see.

This might not be a great approach for petty property crime, but for murder and assault it can be made to work. And if you can make it work for murder and assault, you can make it work for conspiracy to commit those crimes; and there is money in conspiracy.

What makes conspiracy special? Well, the elements of a conspiracy can be widely separated in time and space. A surveillance system that observes and records everything has the huge problem of determining what recorded footage to observe when investigating a crime. If someone is investigating the death of your neighbor, they might never decide to review the footage of a meeting you had with a third party three years ago at which you set a conspiracy in motion to have him murdered by someone who pretended to lose control of their car.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Was it Henry Kuttner, "Private Eye"? $\endgroup$ – Igor G Feb 3 at 23:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @IgorG Just looked it up, and yes - I think so. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – tbrookside Feb 4 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ In many legal jurisdictions, a defense for use of deadly force in self-defense is very legally fraught. Many, for instance, require you to try to escape from your assailant, known as a "duty to retreat". Many jurisdictions even in the stereotypically gun-happy US, like New Jersey, make it practically impossible to assert self-defense in a homicide, because if the prosecutor can show any alternate sequence of actions on your part that would have allowed you to get away, that's what you should have done. $\endgroup$ – KeithS Feb 4 at 20:14
2
$\begingroup$

The problem is logistics. So what if your cameras see every crime, you don't have the manpower to study every tape and track down every criminal. And even if you manage that, now you have to have tons of cops to go arrest every criminal. And some of these will require more than one cop to apprehend.

Checking the tape only when there has been a crime reported doesn't solve anything either, because many crimes aren't reported immediately. Say someone was on vacation and their house was broken into, which they don't report until weeks later when they get back. So you have to keep weeks worth of footage from every camera. How many petabytes of storage would that take for even a small city?

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

For a particularly large crime, a gang might:

Send in a team during peak business hours.

Have one member enter a bathroom, ensuring they are not alone.

Set off an EMP inside the bathroom, disabling all nearby electronics.

Carry out the job.

Escape in the confusion.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ EMPs aren't very easy to create short of airbursting a kiloton-yield nuke. $\endgroup$ – John O Feb 3 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ Not to mention, they're line of sight. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Feb 3 at 19:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ NNEMPs fall under 'near future technology', specified to be acceptable in the question. And are not line of sight. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Wells Feb 4 at 19:28
2
$\begingroup$

Turn off the lights.

These are cameras. They need light. I have night vision goggles and do not. Before I sneak in to your museum and steal your valuable collection of vintage underthings, I cut power to the lights. I do this from under the street, setting a device which will go off shortly before my arrival on the roof.

Because no doubt the cameras have some sort of built in light, I am wearing a Gumby costume with my night vision goggles. Yes I know about thermal and skin texture but you will probably just catch the real Gumby, not me.

I leave the Gumby costume behind and, ultracameras having (utterly) failed, clever forensic types check the costume interior for DNA - which they find, and it is yours, saved by me after a romantic tryst we had some time ago. You should have called the next day.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

In order to be so pervasive, the police must be a large organization.

Find the bad apples in that barrel. Corrupt members usually want to be known (just not by their non-corrupt fellows) - that's how they make their extra money on the side. Corrupt members also tend to help and protect each other.

"In the news, investigators today arrested a Metropolis Police camera technician on suspicion of bribery and conspiracy. A State police spokesperson said that the technician had been aiding criminals to avoid detection in exchange for a share, and may have been doing so for years. Many hundreds of robberies and other violent crimes may be involved. The technician's supervisor has been suspended and is also under investigation. The Metropolis Police Chief announced support for both, and said that she was sure both would be fully exonerated."

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

As others have said, every system has gaps, where it is impractical, illegal or impossible to surveil all activity in all points of location and time. It's really not difficult to very easily and inexpensively exploit the weaknesses of even the most expensive camera systems.


One of the big ones for cameras is adoption of a sufficient level of video technology that identifying you using the video feed is even possible. You ever see those grainy surveillance videos of convenience store or retail robbery-shootings, where someone's dead or in the hospital fighting for their life, and the police are asking for anyone with information? You look at the hopeless blob of digitally-zoomed pixels and go "how on earth could anyone possibly identify that guy from that picture?".

Well, that's the point; if the police had a clear, high-resolution still of the guy's face, they wouldn't need the public's help identifying the guy. Despite the proliferation of cheap surveillance cameras, that's exactly what they are, cheap; most of the systems in convenience stores are ridiculously outdated, primitive and of hopelessly poor optical quality, even if they were only installed a few years back. They were sold to C-store owners and managers running their shops on an extremely tight budget, by unscrupulous vendors unloading old, cheap cameras at ridiculous markup. Coupled with non-ideal placement, like up in a corner where they hope you don't notice instead of looking right over the cashier's shoulder from two or three angles (which is more expensive and less discreet), it's little wonder the best the system can do is a 10x10-pixel blob of an out-of-focus face extending their arm at the cashier.

You're handwaving that away by having the government come in and install the very best available technology, but even a country like China, that's spent billions on video surveillance to date, doesn't have the very best cameras everywhere. A criminal can exploit gaps in coverage of the very latest cameras that have the ability to see under facemasks (whatever Applied Phlebotinum you want to use to enable that) by picking his route to and from the target area. If he's one of a thousand people walking down a particular block with a mask on (very common in dense Asian cities, even without an ongoing coronavirus epidemic), nothing will seem out of the ordinary, and even if he's spotted on camera committing a crime, facial recognition may not catch him because he never got close enough to a camera with sufficient resolution and imaging tech to identify him behind a surgical mask.


Your handwave of a comprehensive, overlapping network of cameras instantly accessible to the police from anywhere is a very significant one when talking about an individual's actions or those of any organized team; no matter how well a team does its job defacing cameras, if you have enough, the criminal will spend enough time trying to black out the area that he won't actually be able to commit the crime he was trying to commit before the police show up to stop him.

However, that leads to a much more effective attack vector. Don't take out the cameras, take out the network connections to the recorders and police surveillance centers. Communications networks are inherently tree-based; large trunks feed smaller branches that service the "leaves" of the network. It's inefficient to provide an individual and separately routed dedicated link from each camera to the surveillance hub/recorder, so instead, the signals from a group of cameras are consolidated onto a single higher-bandwidth link. Those links are far more vulnerable than too many people actively realize, and with much more focused application of destruction, you can take out much larger sections of the grid for much longer than throwing a few rocks at camera lenses.

You don't remove a tree from your yard by plucking every leaf; you take down a tree by lopping off branches and sections of the trunk one at a time until there's nothing left. You might be taking out the public internet as well; so be it, if the communications companies are in kahoots with the government to such a degree that the government can piggyback its camera system on commercial internet, then the internet companies can share in the pain. Generally speaking, even in the modern age, the government needs advanced communication technology to work against a resistance more than the resistance needs it to work against the government.

And, if you just want to take out the cameras for 15 minutes so your buddies can hit the jewelry store in the center of the grid serviced by the fiber bundle you just ran a chainsaw through, that's far more effective than defacing or shooting out every camera that could catch the other team in the act. Will you get caught on camera in some incriminating way before you can disable them? Probably. But your buddies are much less likely to, and your share of the money from the heist is more than enough to put your little brother through law school.


Another major gap is that with a camera system, you're looking for visible evidence of the commission of a crime. There are quite a few crimes that have no visual cues. For instance, you can steal someone's identity with an RFID reader in a handbag in relatively close proximity to their wallet. Luckily for real-world society, this fact became pointedly obvious soon after the introduction of RFID-enabled no-swipe cards, and most of the world has instead transitioned to smart chip technology that requires the card to be in physical electrically-continuous contact with the reader. However, the concept of a payment method that is totally automatic and doesn't require you to fish through pockets or set up your smartphone for communication with the card reader is still of very high interest to payment processors, and when they come up with one, there will be a plausible way to hack it.

Want to get darker? You can commit mass murder without anyone having a clue for weeks. Just walk down any densely-packed sidewalk with a backpack. Nobody will have any idea they're already dead for days, even weeks, until everyone that was walking down that block at that time starts slurring their speech, losing their coordination, balance and their memory, and exhibiting other symptoms of wide-ranging central nervous system dementia. A few simple tests will reveal the patient has about 20 times the lethal dose of mercury in their cerebrospinal fluid, and are far beyond any hope of treatment. Death will be a slow degradation over a period of several more weeks, where victims forget how to speak, who their friends and family are, how to eat and drink, how to avoid wetting or soiling themselves, until eventually the toxin impairs the brain stem sufficiently to cause loss of autonomic nerve function and the heart stops.

Because your backpack was spraying an invisible mist of dimethylmercury, one of the most hideous toxins ever devised by modern science, and easy enough to prepare in a run-down apartment with the contents of an old HVAC thermostat, some tincture of iodine, denatured alcohol, a couple road flares and a homemade glovebox. Sure, you're practically guaranteed to be the first fatality, and will suffer all the above symptoms totally alone in your off-the-grid hideaway to avoid being identified as patient zero, assuming you don't put a bullet in your own brain once you get off the grid, bfore the mercury can eat it alive. If you know enough about this compound to avoid that fate, you'll be in very rare company (one of maybe a few thousand people in the country with graduate-level education in organometallic chemistry) and thus probably known to the government as someone who could pull this attack off. So, once you're seen on a busy sidewalk in a business district of a major city you've never visited in your life, police won't need a whole lot of video surveillance tech to connect these dots. But if you want to prove, in the most undeniable way, that the country's surveillance system is worthless to protect people from those who wish harm on them, this is how you'd do it.


That's assuming you even care about not immediately getting caught. Drama writers like trying to write about perfect murders (or nearly so), because they're so difficult to manage and make the writer and the reader have to really think. In the real world, criminals, especially murderers, don't tend to plan too much. If you want a bunch of people dead, you don't worry too much about the perfect murder; you get in a cargo van and mow down a hundred people on a city sidewalk in five minutes.

Sure, your chances of getting away even from the immediate crime scene are basically zero. That's not the point. The point is, 50 people are dead, you did it, and the government, with its all-seeing surveillance system, was totally powerless to stop you, because you did absolutely nothing to tip them off to imminent criminal activity until the second you yanked the wheel to the side and floored it. Just as it will be totally powerless to stop the next guy, and the one after that, no matter how many rights it takes away in the name of public safety. More than a few mass killings, regardless of weapon, have been perpetrated in recent years for the specific purpose of sending the message that no-one, least of all the government, can guarantee your safety, and the pain will continue long after any one perpetrator is caught or killed. That's a message that is only magnified by the multi-angle views of the killings available to the media through the very camera network set up ostensibly to make society safer.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

So I would first start making dry runs of my escape. Look for camera gaps that do exist and use those to adjust my movement and my appearance. Some may have to be improvised but gaps will happen... suppose a camera on the street is opposite a trash pick-up sight on a crowded street. Dip behind the garbage truck, change appearence, and go in a different direction... or dip into a shop or even better, private residence, where cameras might not exist. It could be a complete stranger or a front, but either way, it needs law enforcement to gather eyewitness statements and good luck.

And before you think "a stranger won't let me in the house," they don't have to know me at all. If I'm already committing a crime, I can just break and enter... I'll tell passers-by I locked my keys inside... or carry a clip board and let the dotty old lady know "I'm here to inspect the utility." Clipboards are not as good as keys when trying to access difficult spots... but damn near close because who carries a clipboard except important people who need to?

In addition, use common feature hiding clothing. A hoodie will hide your face from 3 angles and a baseball cap, pulled low, will cover a good portion of my face that's identifiable. I'd also use getaway vehicles that are common place. Remember the DC Sniper. I lived in the area at the time so I can tell you how scary it was that they couldn't track the dude. And the reason was they were looking for the wrong car. The sniper drove a blue sedan but for most of the investigation, they were looking for a white utility van... which is a common choice for workers of all type who drive to sites (gardeners, plumbers, cable repair men, electricians, construction crews, carpeters, ect). And the reason for this was simple. White Vans will always look out of place in residential areas but are ubiquotous enough that there is a high chance that they will be near the site of any random location. Combined with the Sniper's first day having three shootings in mere hours (one of whom wasn't immediately know as he had been on his lawn mower at the time and fell into the blades... it wasn't for some time that the bullet was found), and following that would only strike once per day after that and at different times of day. If two of the initial three killings had witnesses say they saw a white van driving around near the time the shot happened, then the BOLO for a white van gets out and they aren't even looking for another car. Back to the clothing, the colors should be uniform and not "muted or dulled" and not stand out. If your city has a major sports team, maybe use typical merch that's commonly available to support the team. If you're in Baltimore looking for a man with Orange and Black (the Orioles team colors) on a game day, good luck to you. Might as well be asked to figure out who is telling a lie in the halls of Congress at this very moment (One of the reasons Chicago police doubted Jesse Smollet's story was because he described his attackers wearing the famous bright read MAGA hats from Republican Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign... problem was, Chicago had largely been a bastion of the Democrats and the last time a Republican was elected to Mayor of the city, Al Capone was a major backer in his election. Police, and many Chicagoans, didn't have a clue where they could buy MAGA hats anywhere near the city.)

It may also be that the crime is "time delayed" such that by the time the initial plot is underway, the perpetrator is out of the city where there is no surveillance. If I'm a terrorist with a bomb plot, one can get out of the city while the confusion is underway. Timothy McVeigh, the Tokyo Subway Gas attackers, and the Boston Bombers all were away from the scene of their respective crimes by the time the authorities became aware something was up, and would have ample time to flee before getting caught. The city can only track me while I'm in the city. Once I leave, I can come back and plausibly say you got the wrong guy. Not to mention, the first part of the response is to triage victims. In fact, in all three cases, they were identified by investigators by means other than camera footage (McVeigh was famously arrested for driving without a liscense and conceal carrying a gun illegally after being clocked speeding. One of the Sarin gas attackers confessed and the organization he was with had used chemical agents in attacks before. The Boston Bombers were identified by a survivor who saw them dropped a bomb and described them. Police released camera footage of them without any identities known at the time (dubbed "black hat" and "white hat" for the baseball caps (see) the wore to partially conceal their identities).

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ More than one criminal has been caught because an eyewitness or camera caught the suspect performing a "dry run" of his crime without a ski mask on, and/or driving a vehicle registered to him. The actual crime was flawless, but it draws significant attention to why someone, a few days prior, happened to be very close to a secluded area of greenbelt that turned out to be the dump spot for the mask, gloves etc. $\endgroup$ – KeithS Feb 4 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithS: I was thinking keep personal vehicle in the green belt and switch getaway vehicle or mass transit to greenbelt and return in personal vehicle. I should have clarified that once in the greenbelt, anything used in the crime is ditched and one does not take anything to the crime spree they would not want to ditch later. Assuming you successfully concealed escape and your scouting traffic is not one off, it's hard to tie your scouting trips to daily routine. And when pressed for why you stop, well, there was a major crime in the area and the cops can't solve it. I'm not going there! $\endgroup$ – hszmv Feb 4 at 20:54
1
$\begingroup$

Managed Uncertainty through Non-compliance

Police will have tons of public cameras all over the place, but as an honest, hard working slumlord, keeping cameras in my public areas is too expensive. Oh, the government is willing to pay for the installation? Err... I ment they cost to much to maintain. Oh, they pay to maintain them as well... what I meant to say is that breaker that powers the cameras is faulty. Yeah, so you see, there is no way I can keep my cameras running all the time like I am supposed to. I guess I will just have to pay the occasional fine and move on.

Now the question you may be asking yourself is why would any intelligent businessman choose to pay the fine instead of fix it?

You see, many of my residents are good hardworking honest people who just need a home like anyone else, but others are... not. It is this later group of tenants who are willing to pay double market value in rent, to keep those cameras offline. When they are up to no good, they just put on a mask before they leave, go do their thing, and don't take off the mask until they get home.

When the cops show up, and ask to see the footage, I just give them the usual lip service: "Awe man, that breaker failed again, sorry officers. Can't you just get a warrant to search all 300 units for that mask. No? That violates search-and-seizure laws, really? Oh, and you are fining me 200 USD for the building code violation? Well that sucks, but I can see why that is a reasonable consequence here."

I pay my fines with a smile knowing that I'm racking in an extra 100,000 USD a month keeping those cameras offline.

Unmanaged Uncertainty

I am a criminal who lives in a row of 6 townhouses. The street is monitored, but I can reach any of the other townhouses though our inter-connected backyards unseen. I find out that my neighbor is going on vacation; so, one night while he is gone and all my other neighbors are home, I put on a mask, go through the backyard to exit his house, do my crime, then come back through his house.

When the cops come to investigate, they can see clearly that my neighbor was not home (no need to get him in trouble). But they cannot trace me back to my home. Instead I am at worst one of 5 suspects. In a world where jurors expect cops to be able to track people back to their homes, this would create too much reasonable doubt to prosecute.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.