CCTV FOOTAGE: He wasn’t aware that his crime was captured…

money money money
“Money”, photograph by Tara Lupus.

This blog post is in response to a study question for ALC205. Question: What do you think about the cameras that surround us? Do you think about them?

This response is a very raw, real response. I’m not the type to divulge my personal stories, but after reading through the week 1 resources and news articles my own experiences started to flood back. I tried to ignore it, but there’s no running or hiding from any experiences through life. The good, the bad and unwanted memories. But I try to see the silver lining, I can learn from my past experiences. I think some of the most unethical people can teach us the most important lessons.

In 2015, I had $2, 500 stolen. I won’t mention by who. But I will say, I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s the people we are closest to, think we can trust and think would not lie to us, who can easily betray us. I’m certainly not saying this will definitely happen to everybody (and I’m hoping it won’t happen to anyone else). But it is a possibility, and unfortunately for me, I have learnt my lesson from someone who had earned my trust. The reason why I’m sharing this information is because if it wasn’t for the CCTV footage in a service station, I wouldn’t have truly known who had stolen my ATM card. I was made aware that there was unusual activity in my bank account. So I went through my bank statements with a fine tooth comb.  I eventually worked out which service station ATM was used by this person to withdraw and steal my money. With support from my family and a friend, I worked up the courage to go down to the service station with my friend. We explained the situation to the person working in the service station and asked if they could be of help. They agreed, and then checked through the CCTV footage, tracing it back to the times and days of the transactions. And there he was! CCTV footage captured him walking through the doors into the service station and also withdrawing my money with my card at the ATM. CCTV captured every single time he used my card, which corresponded with EVERY single unexplained transaction on my bank statements. I think the most chilling part of the footage was when the person looked directly up to the CCTV camera.

Ever since this experience, I still walk past the ATM reflecting back to the CCTV footage and when I was confronted with this chilling reality. This footage was used as evidence to build a case and was taken to court. Because of this footage, the Victorian police were able to issue an arrest warrant for this person. I am much more mindful of surveillance cameras since this personal experience and the amount of impact it had on my life. If it wasn’t for that surveillance camera, I would never have found out the truth. It would have been a “could or would that person really do that?” or “Perhaps it was someone else?” or “Maybe the timing was all just a coincidence?” The person tried tell to me they didn’t steal my money, but wasn’t aware that I had seen footage of their movements…

To be quite honest, I don’t think about cameras through my day-to-day activities, they aren’t at the forefront of my mind at least. I might take note that they are around me, but I don’t behave or act differently. I think cameras that surround us can be a lifesaver, and also even a “truth teller”. CCTV footage can assist our society with crime and the safety of citizens, and one of the most crucial tools used to provide evidence. In order to depict real life events, they must not be tampered with or warped to increase a desired outcome for a certain party. It’s part of the evidence package and ethics should always have a hand in working with surveillance. Cameras surrounding our society can help support testimonies and eye witness accounts, or looking back at my case, be the eyes when I wasn’t present. It might be hard to recall everything from an event, so cameras may be able to back up accusations or capture a scene and the minute details that could possibly be overlooked otherwise.

I think what scares me most is that people know CCTV cameras exist and they are being watched, but still commit crimes…however with these surveillance devices, mysteries can be unraveled.

Thanks for reading.

12 comments

  1. Great post, really enjoyed reading the personal element that came through with your recount of your (unfortunate) experience with surveillance. I find sometimes I often automatically take quite a dystopic view of many media related issues and found it refreshing to get some insight into a real story in which surveillance aided a positive outcome. I thought your post was a good length, very concise and to the point, however you may benefit by throwing one or two more visual aids in there to really capture the reader! You made some very relevant points about cameras assisting honesty and safety through monitoring behaviour, there’s some really great studies that could definitely provide some evidence to support this as well. Overall, awesome post and a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cassie! Thank you for reading my blog post and I am glad you enjoyed reading a real life story. 🙂 Yes! I do agree, some images throughout my blog post might be more engaging for readers! 🙂 Thanks for leaving a comment Cassie! Much appreciated. 🙂

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  2. Hi there, great post. Such an engaging personal story, and it was great to see you share such a story for (what seemed to be) the benefit of others. Your experience is raw and real, it led to me wanting to keep reading to hear more. I think that you could use this experience to write a really strong blog piece, backed up with references to really convey a strong and dynamic educational piece for the reader. I think that you should keep your personal experience in a single paragraph – at the start, to grab attention initially. Once you incorporate references, you will see that your piece will gain resonance with the reader. Look back at your references to further enhance your personal experience. Add in some images of yourself if your confident enough – if the reader sees you, they will gain connection with you and hence are more likely to feel for your experience and learn from it. Also work to tighten up your sentences and use more paragraphing to make your blog easier to read. Overall, I really enjoyed your piece. I love hearing about personal stories, hey I have a similar one myself! All the best, Bree. PS – Love your blog name! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello, I absolutely enjoyed reading through your blog post. Although the blog post itself was quite sad, the fact that the post was the happenings of a real event made it very engaging as a reader. Unique, it grabbed you more than a just table of data on ATM theft could have. However, I think a reference on ATM theft maybe in the same state that you live would have been an interesting addition. I really responded to your writing style, as you described the moment of seeing the face of the person stealing from you in the security vision and the confliction that you would have felt in a confrontation without the footage, I felt like I could really understand the uneasiness of the awkward situation. A very enjoyable read!

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    • Hi breeonline! Thank you so much for taking the time to write a comment. I am glad that you found this blog post engaging and agree that a reference on ATM theft could be interesting! Yes, seeing the face was very uneasy! Horrible feeling! Thanks again for leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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  4. Hey! That was a great read! Such a strong anecdote to support the beneficial uses of CCTV surveillance. There’s no doubting that CCTV can play an integral part in ensuring more justice in today’s society. I like how you linked you experience to the issue at hand, and it made the concept of CCTV into one which is much less big brother in the Orwellian sense and more like the big brother who looks out for you. Often it can be easy to simply consider surveillance with a pejorative mindset and over look the many positives it brings. If I could suggest one thing which would have helped drive your point home just that bit more, would be the use of some scholarly sources, I’m certain there’s many applicable cases out there which would have mirrored your point of view 🙂 But overall fantastic post!

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    • Hi Daniel! Thank you for leaving a comment. Yes, I like the ‘big brother who looks out for you’. Yes I agree there are many positive sides to CCTV and surveillance. I’m very thankful that the CCTV camera was real and working! Are you studying ALC203? Thanks again Daniel for leaving a comment, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. 🙂 – Tara

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  5. Hi there!

    First of all, I’m so sorry that it happened to you.
    However, I really enjoy reading your blog post! I love your writing style since I feel like I am being really drawn into the story.

    Is this one of the blog post that you are going to submit as the assignment for ALC205? If so, I think you should embed tweets from your Twitter profile, and add 2-3 images to the blog post, as what has been stated in the blogging instructions in the CloudDeakin resources.

    It will be more wonderful to add some academic references that related to your experience to enhance the blog post!

    Overall, great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nadya!

      Thank you!! It’s always great to receive feedback on blog posts.
      No, I dropped out of ALC205…and I wouldn’t submit this blog post for assessment. I would have created new ones for the formal assessment. This post was written at the very start of the Trimester. 🙂

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

      -Tara

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