1. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78

    Is possible get away with this crime with today's technology?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ryan Elder, May 17, 2016.

    For my story, I wanted the villains to commit a series of kidnappings, but with today's super advanced police technology, it seems impossible to write such a story. If the villains drive a vehicle to the kidnapping point and back, the vehicle can easily be spotted as a vehicle used for criminal activity.

    Police cars nowadays have computers tech on them that photograph plates all over the streets, and if the plate is a phony plate, since the vehicle is not mean to be identified, then the police have already spotted the vehicle. Or if the vehicle was stolen, the computer can identify those plates too, just by taking pictures randomly, from car to car, or so I was told by a cop.

    There are also so many traffic cams compared to before, nowadays.

    The last story I recall that had a crime that required an untraceable vehicle was the movie The Town (2010). But it seems in my research, a lot has changed since then.

    Is it possible for criminals to get away with such crimes nowadays, especially if they plan on doing it a few times? Or do all kidnappings in a modern city, have to be done without cars now, to prevent the police from spotting anything illegal, while on the way to the location?
     
  2. doggiedude
    Offline

    doggiedude Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,454
    Likes Received:
    1,250
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    Just have your criminals steal a random car five minutes before the crime. Then have them switch cars afterward. I doubt anyone would be that critical over the point.
     
    Shadowfax likes this.
  3. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks for the input. But that would create a lot of attention and there is still all the traffic cameras and all the security cameras of all the buildings. It is still just as likely to get them caught as driving a car with a phony plate, isn't it?
     
  4. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,322
    Location:
    California, US
    No. The cops aren't going to check every traffic camera and security camera in town. You wouldn't have to drive far to get well outside a perimeter that could be reasonably checked.
     
  5. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    But if the victim were held for ransom or something like that, and then released later, the victim would be able to tell the police where she was kidnapped at though. So then what?
     
  6. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,995
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    Why would they have spotted the vehicle? Are you assuming that the police check every plate on every one of thousands or tens of thousands of cars in a city, every hour of every day?
     
  7. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    OK, let's assume they steal a car just before the kidnapping. They collect the victim from a city-centre apartment, leaving the car parked outside, in full view of CCTV from the building for ten minutes. Ten minutes later, they drive (wearing caps pulled low to obscure their faces) through a dozen traffic lights (each with CCTV), a route which they have carefully planned so that only by following the chronology of this light, that light, the next light perfectly would the police know what direction they leave town in. Some time in the middle of this, the owner reports his car as stolen. It's a bog-standard car, not a particularly expensive one, so the police put it at the bottom of the pile, to be looked at when they get around to it. (Incidentally, a colleague had his car stolen from off his driveway. Middle of the night, gravel drive, burglar alarm and tracker both switched on. The car was out of sight in seconds, twenty minutes later they found the tracker and disabled it. Car gone.)

    A couple of miles out of town, they switch to a second stolen car (this one's a white van) and torch the original.

    What have the police got?

    CCTV places the stolen car outside the building; CCTV tracks the car through a dozen lights; NOW they put the car theft report into the mix, and if they're lucky they'll have CCTV of the theft. IF. You could have them using gait analysis to (try to) identify the crooks, or not if you don't want to. Because once you've got the burnt-out shell, you can use the chassis numbers to identify the car, but it'll do you no good because you'll get pretty much zero forensics from it. There's next to no way that the police would be able to react quickly enough to the CCTV to be able to catch the crime on the hoof, they're only going to be able to use it AFTER the event to try to catch the perpetrators. And once they've found the torched corpse, they've got tyre tracks for the getaway van in the mud of the car-park...but tyre tracks are no better than shoe-prints! i.e., only useful once you've found a suspect to compare with the forensics. So, all that the CCTV has done is show the timetable.

    As for false plates, a couple of times within the last week I've seen a car without a front plate, just one stuffed behind the windscreen, where's it's visible, but not clearly. Easy to be unable to identify the registration; would CCTV software be clever enough to look for the number there? Would it be able to identify the car when a couple of the digits were obscured?

    As for manpower, the abduction/murder I mentioned earlier had 400 police on it; they only caught the murderer when he was caught for another crime, and his prints were found to match the murder scene...and he'd committed 400 other burglaries and 3 fatal shootings (in the UK!), so he was always likely to turn up sooner or later!
     
  8. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks there are some ideas there, thanks.

    I was told that a cop car's computer searches for plates automatically as the car drives, so the cop does not have to. Is that true?
     
  9. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    231
    The type of networking that would allow police offices to tap into cameras anywhere is not within human reach yet, and would be very difficult to implement in the United States. The CCTV is no threat to the criminals at all: CC stands for closed circuit. You can't just tap into it and watch it, the police would have to go to whoever owns the building and ask for the tapes. The owner also has the right to refuse if they don't have a warrant. They'd have to already be aware of the crime happening for that, why would they know someone is being kidnapped? Even in a neighbor heard screaming and called the police, but the time they arrived, the kidnappers would be gone and there would be little evidence of a crime at all.

    Your police office friend is sort of right, the type of technology where you can pick a single car out of heavy traffic does exist, but it's a specialized AI that's doesn't have as much reach as you'd think.

    Cops also aren't detectives, they tend to be more concerned with the safety of the citizens and making sure that the city runs smoothly. More cops direct traffic than do lab work.

    I've kidnapped people before. I doubt there would be much difference between taking a hostage and abducting someone for a bachelor party.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,995
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I don't understand. Sure, if a cop is following a car, because that car is speeding or for some other reason, I suppose it's theoretically possible that some system is scanning that car's plate. But that's one car. The hundreds or thousands of other cars around are not being followed by cops, and therefore their plates are not being read.

    You seem to be assuming that there's some computer system that knows about every trip made by every car, forever. It doesn't work that way.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  11. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,322
    Location:
    California, US
    They also use the scanners in traffic cameras, set up at intersections, and some police cruisers have them oriented so they can scan cars in a parking lot as the police car cruises through. But even taking those things into account, we are well short of a system where every car on the road is recognized and monitors. In fact, the vast majority of cars on the nation's roadways are not being recognized and tracked.
     
  12. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,828
    Likes Received:
    2,426
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Why don't you use a rental car? It would have little to no ties with the criminals, so they could not simply run the plates and have it come back to them. Also if the feel things getting to hot, they can always rent a different vehicle. Or they could borrow a car(s) from friends and family (though this is just a dick move), it would draw attention away from the crooks, because they could return the car as soon as possible leaving it on the owner of the vehicle. In theory it could work, but IDK how well or for how long. That is just an idea that might help. :)
     
  13. No-Name Slob
    Offline

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    If it weren't possible to write the story realistically because of the advanced technology today, that would mean that it wouldn't be possible to get away with the crime in reality because of the advanced technology today. The only problem there is that thousands of people are still kidnapped and never found, along with their kidnappers. So, it is possible. Which also makes it possible to write the story. You just have to dig a little deeper.
     
    Cave Troll and Steerpike like this.
  14. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks for the all the advice.

    Well there is a scenario I want where the police spot some of the criminal activity and begin to chase after them. I want the car to be able to get away, without the police being able to trace it. The crooks leave some other clues behind for the police to follow and build a case, but if the police find out where the car came from while attempting to get it, then they villains are screwed, cause the cops can just go to the renal company, pull up records and look at the camera footage.
     

Share This Page