Who wants to live among thieves

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Who wants to live among thieves

Postby socks » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:47 pm

After 10 years coming to Burning man I have never seen the level of theft I witnessed this year. Our camp lost one bike and
had another one that was locked dragged away. After they tired of dragging it they broke into the side bags and stole water and
beer. Come on stealing the beer and water was done for the sport of it. It not hard to get a water or beer in Black Rock city.
A good friend's son who is 8 years old had his monkey lights taken off his bike. This sadly was a story I heard from many camps. Enough is enough. I propose the following.

BM.org has to end this stupidity that unless a lock has been cut the bike is not stolen until Monday. Thats only kicking the can down the road. Stealing is stealing. If you
take something that not yours you stole it. We teach this to 4 year old's. We need more bike racks.This will stop the drag a ways.
We need to ban for life anyone who is caught stealing in Black Rock City. You are Persona Non Grata at Burning man. I know
they would still be able to get a ticket from a friend but it sends a very bold statement. Camps caught harboring stolen bikes
should be asked to leave. This may be harsh but its give the camp some ownership in it.

LEO's need to set up some bait bikes and make a few public displays of arrest. After a few days of this a bike left unlocked
will be by passed on. If they have the personal to try to set up the bars for under age serving this should be a easy one for them
to set up.

Camps need to be part of this solution. If someone came without a bike then suddenly shows up with one you need to ask
questions. Would you be comfortable to camp with a thief ? This is our city we all travel to at great expense and sacrifice
and I will be dammed to let the thieves ruin our city.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby ygmir » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:01 pm

do ocracy: how about you spend more time patrolling, and get your friends to?
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:03 pm

.
You have my vote.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby strange love » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:05 pm

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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:08 pm

Oh, definitely. This is a very complex problem, with widely differing opinions as to how to -- even whether to -- look for a solution.

And I'm going to sit this one out. :D
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby name redacted » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:11 pm

Ive always wanted to do a bike sting. I have a kona dh bike that would be great bait.

I wont do a bike sting because I dont trust myself not to open a can of whoop-ass on whoever tried to take it.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Box Burner » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:41 pm

socks wrote: I propose the following.

BM.org has to end this stupidity that unless a lock has been cut the bike is not stolen until Monday.


bmorg did not create the problem. They, in fact, advise that you lock your bike. That prevents most thefts. A cut lock is evidence that bike may have been stolen, but it is not proof. without a cut lock you have no evidence at all. People do cut locks when they lose their keys. And many people ride in on a bike and forget that they brought it or leave with freinds on foot or in an art car. What do you want the bmorg to do? Install surveilance cameras everywhere?

socks wrote: We need more bike racks. This will stop the drag a ways.


Centercamp provides bike racks. Perhaps your camp should follow their example an provide bike racks in your camp. This is a Do-ocracy and I have seen camps that already have bike racks. You know, radical self reliance and all that. We do not need government handouts here.


socks wrote:We need to ban for life anyone who is caught stealing in Black Rock City.


I do not know for certain, but that may already be a penalty.

socks wrote:Camps caught harboring stolen bikes
should be asked to leave. This may be harsh but its give the camp some ownership in it.


And how would you know that they are "harboring stolen bikes"? People forget their bikes all the time. Camps, bmrg and leo do not have the resources to check on every bike left in a camp to find out if it was stolen. Most camps will leave it there so that whoever left it has a chance to come back and find it. This is kind and courteous and much appreciated by those who own the bikes.


socks wrote:LEO's need to set up some bait bikes and make a few public displays of arrest. After a few days of this a bike left unlocked
will be by passed on. If they have the personal to try to set up the bars for under age serving this should be a easy one for them
to set up.


Let's not encourage or empower leo. If you give them an inch they will take a mile. That leads to a police state. Is that what you want BLC to become? Already getting enough of that in the default. Leo charges for their service. If they have more to do they will want more manpower. The extra cost will be reflected in your ticket price.
[/quote]

socks wrote:Camps need to be part of this solution. If someone came without a bike then suddenly shows up with one you need to ask
questions. Would you be comfortable to camp with a thief ? This is our city we all travel to at great expense and sacrifice
and I will be dammed to let the thieves ruin our city.


And how many of your camp mates are going to stand at the entrance to your camp and demand proof that the bike someone rides in is not stolen? Should bmorg start registering bikes and issuing bike permits to make this possible?
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby tatonka » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:51 pm

no problem with any thievery all week , locked my bike at camp and at center camp . Only time Imdidnt lock it was at the meet and greet , but I was right near it .
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby BBadger » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:58 am

Socks: aren't your own experiences more an issue with your own camp's bike security infrastructure? Our camp is by no means a huge camp, but we still have our own racks and, barring that, lock our bikes to large structures like carports. I don't think BMOrg should be placing racks around BRC, which would take up camping space, and cause excess clutter. Around the playa around what art pieces do you put them? You can't put them around all of them. Also, a good "rack" to lock your bike to is your friend's bike when traveling in a group. That's what we always do.

As for blacklisting thieves: I'm all for that, but it's really hard to catch people in the act of such thievery and prosecute them. In my own camp there was a thief who was using social engineering to try and obtain one of our bikes. We fortunately caught him later that night in the end, but he disappeared into the dark of the playa, never to be seen again. I'm not sure what we'd do even if there were some sort of "law" in place to prosecute that individual. Do we detain him and call a ranger or LEO? Do we have the right to carry out a citizen's arrest? Take a picture? Is that proof? How would you even find that person?

There is also plausible deniability in most cases involving camps with stolen bikes in them (were that provable), and even just accidentally taking another person's bike. Camps can't keep track of every person and their bike that happens to reside within the camp boundaries. Will you pass out validation tickets? Nor can they prove that the bike does or does not belong to a person (no licensing after all). Unless there's some sort of racket going on where people are stealing expensive bikes en masse, it's going to be difficult to impossible to determine what bike is stolen or not.

For everything else, BoxBurner pretty much covered the issues.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:22 am

"social engineering" is not always a bad thing.


it's a tool which can be used to build or destroy.



you seem to have a problem with it and always use it in a negative manner, just wondering why?
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:26 am

just to clarify, i was referring to it in this manner

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_eng ... al_science)

not in the confidence game / computer security / trickster way...
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby BBadger » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:09 am

Well, I was relying on context in that case. It's like how "discrimination" receives the same negative connotation treatment, even though it should be considered neutral on its own.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:57 am

But of course...

Now that coffee has unblurred my brain i see your point..
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby trilobyte » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:52 am

I'm giving this a nudge to Politics and Philosophy, since that's a better fit for this kind of discussion.

That said, the experience is what you make of it and you and your campmates are the people primarily responsible for your experiences. If you're experiencing a crime wave within camp, or within the ranks of campmates, look at ways it can be prevented moving forward. If your "solution" is that other people need to do something about it, it's not really a solution in my personal opinion, it's just complaining.

If you look, you'll find plenty of examples of whatever kind of behavior you're looking for, however good, bad, or outrageous. One of my campmates found a green bike frame, stripped of everything. Another campmate and a friend quite a bit of time one day MOOPing the area around some random piece of art they liked out in the open playa. It's also worth pointing out a minor but important distinction in your choice of language. You said you never saw the level of theft you witnessed this year - I don't think witnessed is the right word (unless you actually witnessed and failed to report these crimes). I don't doubt that the items were taken or that crimes were committed, but saying you witnessed it (rather than just heard people tell you stories) kind of implies that you sat there and watched them happen...without taking action.

If you had problems at your camp, I'd suggest looking for ways to change and improve your camp plan to make theft less likely. If you don't have bike racks for your campmates and visitors, build and bring some (there are plans to build your own on the cheap floating around). Concerned about people going through your camp (or ditching stolen goods or any other inappropriate behavior), have campmates on security patrol. Depending on the camp or location, you may only find that necessary on a couple nights... or you may find it's something you need to do all week. Black Rock City 2013 was a bustling city of nearly 70,000 people - there were busy neighborhoods, and there were quiet neighborhoods.

If you find that the traffic and risk of theft in your neighborhood has gotten to be too much, make different plans for next year. My camp is in that situation. We had some art theft on burn night - campmates kept an eye on the joint during what we thought were the primetime hours, but something happened after (during a gap in our coverage). So now we need to figure out what we want to do for next year. We can step up our patrolling and have more organized shifts to keep an eye on things, or we can aim for a different neighborhood. One could argue we could also decide not to build or bring art, but I don't see that as an option...building and bringing art is a core part of the experience.

I'm sorry to hear that you or your campmates had a bad burn experience. But rather than look for solutions that involve lots of other people making changes to improve things for you (especially ones that call for expanded or heavier police presence and sting operations), look to the things that you can control to reduce and minimize those risks.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Roberto Dobbisano » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:12 am

true fact.


the pilfering at Drainbow is 10 times as bad.


BRC is way on the honest end of the scale, for the most part, but, it is a cross section of everything and everybody, and it is on the radar screen of those that make their living doing just that.


i never lock my shit, so if it gets stolen, its probably my own fault, but i am confident enough in the community as a whole not to, so i don't.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:23 am

Um... trick question? Jesus!
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby FlyingMonkey » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:49 am

There is obviously only 1 solution for all this thievery. Puritan Punishments


1. Benefit of clergy - the convicted made plead benefit of clergy, in which case, if they can recite from the Bible 10 Principals without one mistake, their sentence will be reduced.

2. Stocks - the convicted will have his/her head and hands placed in a locked stockade for the remainder of the day, and the community will be invited to pelt him/her with food MOOP. The convicted must clean up anything he/she is pelted with.

3. Wearing a sign - a milder punishment than branding. The convicted must make their own sign to hang around their neck, which indicates their crime.

4. Branding(Ok, body paint) - the convicted is marked with letters that stand for their crime - HT for hog thief, BT for bike thief, A for adulterer (Crime?). The branding can be on the cheek, forehead, or more mildly on the hand or finger.

5. Ducking stool - for women only, usually used in the case of gossip. The woman shall be confined in a chair and dunked in water. (Obviously this is sexist & we would need to lash them to the back of a water truck)

6. Whipping - for men only, a common punishment. A number of "lashes" is administered to the convicted's back. Lashes usually number from 5 to 20.(Still sexist. Slip them something & leave them naked in a BDSM camp. KIDDING kind of.... )

7. Public shaming - a milder form of punishment, the convicted is pulled on a rope through BRC, while the community is invited to point fingers at him, tell him he is naughty, and pelt him with small objects.

But seriously, I would love to see someone make a bait bike with a remotely triggered Taser in the seat. I guarantee they would never steal another bike.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby maladroit » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Our camp of ~30 had locked and unlocked bikes, generators, gasoline, rechargeable power tools, food, drinks, chairs, audio equipment, clothing, extension cords, etc all out in plain view for more than 10 days. Much of it was close to the road. Not a single item was stolen. I wouldn't have expected it to last a day in the default world.

Just providing a counter-anecdote, because that's all we have going here is a few scattered anecdotes from a really big city full of blurry social and physical boundaries.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Simon of the Playa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:36 am

i think the problem is the OP



after perusing all of his posts, i have determined by scientific method that he smells whiny.



that is all.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:56 am

tatonka wrote:no problem with any thievery all week , locked my bike at camp and at center camp . Only time Imdidnt lock it was at the meet and greet , but I was right near it .


Yeah I know... I kept trying to swipe it but you just wouldn't go away from it.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:34 am

...I would love to see someone make a bait bike with a...

*giggles*






Built several, but we never got around to organizing the posse. Too much other fun going on.



And I never did finish the one with the firecrackers under the seat. Too many projects.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby BBadger » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:27 pm

My idea for a bike device, not necessarily for a bait bike, is to have it so that if the bike goes out of range of your transponder the front wheel brake-locks. Of course that's *cough* only so that I don't have to directly lock my bike anytime I leave it.

Now if someone happens to, you know, ride off on that bike and is at full speed when it goes out of range of the transponder ... that's his problem.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:54 pm

Well, I doctored jury-rigged modified hacked (see, I know some modern words) a coaster brake wheel so that the brake came on as the wheel rolled. But this was for a bait bike -- it would go about 30 feet.

I've had the idea to reverse and strengthen the springs on a brake so that you would have to pull the brake lever in to ride. Let go of the lever and the brake comes on. Automatic parking brake. But your hand would soon get tired of holding the lever tightly while riding, and you would almost certainly let go by mistake sooner or later. But fun idea.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby tatonka » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:26 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
tatonka wrote:no problem with any thievery all week , locked my bike at camp and at center camp . Only time Imdidnt lock it was at the meet and greet , but I was right near it .


Yeah I know... I kept trying to swipe it but you just wouldn't go away from it.



lol :D
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:09 pm

Elliot wrote:I've had the idea to reverse and strengthen the springs on a brake so that you would have to pull the brake lever in to ride. Let go of the lever and the brake comes on. Automatic parking brake. But your hand would soon get tired of holding the lever tightly while riding, and you would almost certainly let go by mistake sooner or later. But fun idea.


Ohh... I rather like this idea. Maybe there's a way to put in a... (and here I fail with the modern words)... like a catch, so you can pull the brake lever and then somehow twist or flip it so that it catches and is held in place in the open position.

'course, when I'm really worried about my bike walking in the default world, I just take the seat + post along with me (in a plastic bag to keep from getting the grease on everything). I figure most folks who steal a bike are going to want to ride it away.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:45 pm

A catch, yes. Such a thing does exist, in a way -- to serve as a parking brake. RhoadesCar uses it. But it releases when you squeeze the handle. So we would need something more devious clever.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby tatonka » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:02 pm

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me. :P
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:26 pm

Big-truck brakes have strong springs holding them "on" all the time as the default, and you have to air them up to hold them "off" to drive them.

It's hard to arrange a bike like that, especially in a way that can't be super easily defeated by the would-be new "owner".
Plenty of bikes get stolen and dragged away even if the wheels are locked.
I think if I were gonna booby-trap a bike I'd alarm it.
Perhaps a way to trip the alarm would be to use a headlight generator. When someone starts riding, the generator makes power and trips a relay - which sets off the alarm.
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Elliot » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:31 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:...
Perhaps a way to trip the alarm would be to use a headlight generator. When someone starts riding, the generator makes power and trips a relay - which sets off the alarm.

That one I like a lot! Could also be used to energize an electric detonator -- instead of the pistol primer I had in mind.:twisted:


(For entertainment purposes only. No actual thieves will be harmed. Do not attempt at home. And so on and so forth.)
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Re: Who wants to live among thieves

Postby Turtleburp » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:39 am

Elliot wrote:Oh, definitely. This is a very complex problem, with widely differing opinions as to how to -- even whether to -- look for a solution.

And I'm going to sit this one out. :D


Sit it out on a bike with a folding saddle? :wink:
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