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Those crimes of opportunity
Jason Campbell

Nobody likes thieves. 

In fact, I downright despise people who think that they’re entitled to help themselves to something that somebody else worked hard for. 

But I can’t help but notice that there have been more than a few auto burglaries – smash and grab jobs – during the holidays where people left things in their vehicles in plain sight, and then wanted to complain about how things are “going downhill” because they were stolen. 

The night that I proposed to my wife, at Coit Tower in San Francisco, I left my camera bag with my Nikon D50 and a nice 17mm-to-35mm lens sitting right on my backseat as I led her, blindfolded, up the walkway to the Telegraph Hill overlook. In less than five minutes away from my car, thieves had essentially removed my back window and made off with the camera without alerting anybody else in the parking lot as to what was happening. This was in December, and it was raining, and I had to drive home with a new fiancé and a Tijuana blanket over my window, flapping as I called my parents to give them the good and the bad news. 

Was I upset? Absolutely. That camera was linked to my livelihood, and I had pictures on memory cards that I will never see again. 

But I also shouldn’t have left it in plain sight for somebody to just walk up and take. I was upset with myself more than anything.

As sad as it is, I’ve come to realize that people generally suck in this world, and that the days of thinking that people are going to do the right thing are over. 

It would be wonderful if we could leave our purse on the seat and expect somebody not to smash our window and take it, but that isn’t the world that we’re living in anymore – no matter where you are.

Unfortunate? Yes. Unexpected? No. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.