Your Neighborhood Is Turning Into Someone’s Private Police State

Something curious has unfolded on our Introduce Yourself page. First came a comment from Elle, a few weeks back:

hi, i’m elle. i walk around the hood in wings.

guess what? starting yesterday evening and throughout the summer, there is a security guard on duty 24-7 on the block of Valencia between 16th and 17th. this is private ‘police’ monitoring your activity in public space. they don’t stop people from being robbed or killed, they are just there to watch the stuff.

is hiring private security for public space even legal?

your neighbourhood is turning into someone’s private police state.

Today, reader Dave replies:

Elle Ko. I was talking with the security guard recently on my way home, and he told me that he’s there because you keep spray painting the building next to frjtz. He also said that you promised to continue vandalizing the building the moment he’s not there, so as a result, he simply has to be there. My guess is that if you weren’t committing crimes in the neighborhood, or at least telling people you were, he wouldn’t be there at all. My guess is you’ll get caught soon enough – but it seems like (according to the security guy anyway) that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. Personally, I’m glad he’s there. If what he says is true, I applaud the day you get bagged with a felony. Is hiring private security legal? I guess it’s at least a little more legal than tagging local businesses.

The image up top is a still from a video from Elle’s Flickr account, from a photo set which I think we’re supposed to believe depicts her stealing a Burberry coat from Bloomingdales. What do we think folks, is Elle the next KKKatie?

More importantly, how much do we all love the complex societal quandary this exchange puts forth? What is public? What is private? Why should Transformers 3 get to shut down downtown Chicago for a week and prevent me from getting to a coffee date on time? Why are college kids plagiarizing more? Why shouldn’t they be? Are you telling me this blog isn’t an original work? That as curators, we’re not working just as hard as bloggers that produce exclusively “original” content? Why is it okay that all the waterfront parks in Grosse Pointe are closed to non-residents? I just want to sit by the lake and read my book! On the other hand, the other night I was at a friend’s house and some teenager crept up next to an open window and yelled an obscenity at us and ran away laughing, and I swelled up with rage and started muttering about “private property” and thought about chasing the culprit and beating him with a U-lock. Complex!

13 thoughts on “Your Neighborhood Is Turning Into Someone’s Private Police State”

  1. All I know is that looking at her Flickr and photo comments about shoplifting, this girl is batshit crazy.

  2. My freshman year in college, a friend gave me some advice: never date a girl who wears wings or arm jewelry. I ignored this advice once. Worst mistake I ever made.

  3. “What do we think folks, is Elle the next KKKatie?”

    Elle has awesome rationalizations. She steals yogurt from Whole Foods to give to people with no teeth. She disputes that she’s tagging, because she’s not tagging, she’s writing. She steals a Burberry coat because… um… I’m sure if you asked her it would be something awesome.

    What I’m saying is that she’s way more fun than another boring racist.

    1. so what ? we ran out of realty shows ? we need get some form of entertainment from a person that clearly is not on her meds? fucking stupid kid, EITHER TAG OR DONT, EITHER STEAL or DONT, dont try to make it cool or trendy or try to make it any less an offense than it is.

  4. There’s a similar “hire a (not) cop” down on Cesar Chavez and Mission at night. While I cannot confirm – he didn’t really seem upstanding enough to be an off duty cop or maybe itwas just because I don’t remember him having a gun.

    Couple of fundamental differences here for starters Elle is not racist or racially insensitive and her work is more thought provoking than Katie’s. It also takes more skill, planning and insight.

  5. If you don’t believe in property rights, what’s the difference? If there’s a rent-a-cop inside or outside, it’s all the same, it’s all bad, right? Even Rainbow has security.

    Rainbow security is watching YOU!

  6. What is with this weird obsession for young women doing slightly socially unacceptable things? Has SF gotten that boring? Has this blog gotten that liberal (read: center right)?

  7. The elements of a defamation claim are:

    1. publication of a statement of fact
    2. that is false,*
    3. unprivileged,
    4. has a natural tendency to injure or which causes “special damage,” and
    5. the defendant’s fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence.

    Just remember what it means to call someone who has not been convicted of a crime a criminal in a public space.

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