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.