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Old lady called police on me!


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I don't think

Obviously.

As a cop, I can tell you we generally know who the alarmists are. We don't come flying into areas, lights & sirens on, just to appease them. We arrive in this manner because the nature of the initial call warrants such a response. If we assume that the "moonbat's", (couldn't find any phrase more insulting than moonbat?), call was a result of your activities, then the cop's method of arrival would seem to indicate that she is not an alarmist. Had she been a known alarmist, the cop's arrival would've been far more sedate. As a general rule, we don't draw our weapons on folks walking amiably through parks, nor do we yell "Freeze! Get on the ground" to unarmed folks who approach us in a civil manner. As a side note, we actively encourage folks to carry some lawful means by which they can protect themselves and prevent victimization. There's not a cop I know that would even twitch an eyebrow at your can of pepper spray, with the possible exception of those places where it is illegal.

 

Every phone call made to a law enforcement agency is a matter of public record. It might benefit you to ask to review the call the "moonbat" made. At the very least, it would educate you. Cops get lied to all the time. There seems to be in inverse relationship between the number of candles on someone's birthday cake and their willingness to fib to the police. I.e; as a general rule, the older someone is, the less likely they are to lie to us. You have no idea why she called, nor do you have any idea what she told the responding officer, yet you are perfectly willing to paint whatever picture suited your imagination.

 

I hate racists

Why? Racists are no more than ignorant, fearful people who stereotype others. Seems like you'd fit right in.

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Yes, the whole idea of this game is stealth, but when someone spots you it's better for all if we then take the best approach and help the folks who are alarmed understand exactly what's going on. I've got a great example! Behind my house is a sloping hillside which has a major city street running along the top of it. The only thing between me and the road (other than the hill) is a wire fence. As there is also a school bus stop there as well, historically when someone is standing at the top of the hill looking down into my yard it either means that kids are about to throw rocks at my house, or that they're scoping out something in my yard to come back for after dark (both of these things have happened more than once). So when I see people hanging out around the fence and they're not waiting for a school bus, we like to keep them moving along. Many times that means going out into the yard to water some plants and say "hello" to whomever is up there. At night it could involve a very bright spotlight that I use to let folk know I'm aware of their presence. We found out long ago that yelling at them just leads to them shouting profanity at me and making threats. Well, when I started geocaching and punched in my home coordinates I found a explanation for at least some of the loitering behind my house... a micro hidden above my yard! If I'd known it was something so innocuous, it would have changed my behavior somewhat.

 

On the other side, I got caught by a homeowner at the second cache I found. He'd seen folks milling around in a group of trees in a park behind his house (multiple days in a row no less!). He said it was obvious that they were looking for something, he just didn't know what. I explained it to him, showed him the cache container (not the hiding spot!). He had a ton of questions about the GPS then exclaimed "this would be a great thing to do with my son!". He was an "outdoors" type... fishing, hunting, hiking etc. and I'll bet that soon that list will include geocaching!

 

Folks are just afraid, we can easily do away with their fear with a little explanation and maybe increase the size of our geocaching community in the process.

 

DCC

(madmike)

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Interesting thread :D

 

And an innocent question here - did the individual who made the original post, consider that his own physical appearance may have aroused alarm?

 

And I'm not asking this to stir the pot - but judging by the responses of "other old people"... and others who have visited the cache without incident, could it possibly be that your own physical appearance seemed intimidating?

 

While it's wrong to judge a book by its cover, many (most) people do. It's not a racist thing, or a bigoted thing - it's just human nature.

 

I've got a couple of customers who *look* very threatening - biker types, all sleeved out in tats and piercings - if you did not know them, you might be afraid just by their appearance. Actually they are two of the nicest, most respectful, polite customers I've got - but first impressions can be wrong.

 

Is it at all possible that the "look" of the cacher was what caused the lady to make the call?

 

The original poster does seem mistrustful of people in general and of law enforcement - perhaps he's had unpleasant encounters before?

 

I've never been approached by the police while caching - but I'm a middle aged mom with a couple of teenaged kids. Sometimes they cache with me, sometimes they don't - but I think I appear harmless enough. I carry a couple of those brochures (linked in another thread about geocaching and close encounters with law enforcement) just in case the police or anybody else approach me to see what I'm doing - but thusfar nobody has.

 

If I'm in my home territory, I'm familiar with some of the local constabulary - I've had to call them a couple of times to my business for this or that, and lately because somebody helped themselves to some worthless stuff in my truck - in my driveway overnight, nonetheless.

 

I'm of the attitude that the police are on my side - I'm a law-abiding citizen and I'd be pleased to explain myself if need be - as long as my caching activity is lawful and I'm not tresspassing or doing anything illegal, I have nothing to worry about.

 

When I first learned of this hobby, and started engaging in it, I often wondered what others would think of what I was doing - was I picking up or dropping off drugs or something illegal? The thought of a suspicious package or bomb occurred to me too. Most of the caches I've found have a prominent sticker on the outside, explaining what they are - but many don't. There's a cache that my friend placed very close to my business, and we were sure to put a sticker on the outside of it explaining what it is - in case of muggling and/or people worrying about what it is.

 

I guess encounters with law enforcement are inevitable in this game - just hope if/when I do meet one -he or she is geocaching friendly!

 

Jenn

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I guess encounters with law enforcement are inevitable in this game - just hope if/when I do meet one -he or she is geocaching friendly!

 

Jenn

 

It doesn't matter if they are or not.The point is that you are in a public place and doing nothing wrong - there's no need to act or feel like you are.

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Today I was in a park in the city that I work in. I was looking for a cache, and it is in an area where high school age kids sometimes hang out and smoke and do other nefarius things.

 

As I was walking in, I saw an elderly lady walk in behind me. I kept up my same pace and watched her out of the corner of my eye everytime I made a turn. I thought that maybe she would take another trail but she chose mine. I walked a couple hundred feet past the the cache and turned around. I thought that I would let her go past me and then I would find the cache. As soon as she passed each other though, she stopped and turned around and watched me leave. In fact, she watched me all the way to my truck.

 

I called my partner(the other dispatcher for our police department) and told her that she would probably be getting a call. She did.

 

I wasn't even off the trail.

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Sad isn't it? Can't even walk through a park without being suspected of something :wacko:

 

If I had any cajones in that situation I might have turned around and asked why she was following ME?

 

Or better yet - make the call and summon police to ask what SHE was doing? (I know this is a waste of LEO time - I'm just making a funny).

 

Still - when you're doing nothing wrong, it would kind of be funny to turn the tables on the Nosey Parkers out there :D

 

Jenn

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I'm really kind of stunned by the responses in this thread, some going so far as to compare the OP to a racist for calling a woman by the relatively innocuous term "moonbat". Yes, yes, we don't know exactly why the lady called or what the whole story is, but judging by the evidence at hand, the most reasonable scenario is by far conclusion reached by the OP. If I got the cops called on me for walking around a public park for a few minutes, I'd use a heck of a lot harsher terms than "moonbat" to refer to her. And while the situation might have been easily diffused with a geocaching brochure and a brief explanation, it just as easily could have gone very poorly for him. I met a muggle at a cache site once who claimed that the area was a place where people picked mushrooms and sold them to children. The lady might have accused him of drug dealing or any number of nefarious deeds. Or if the lady was calling for some other, perhaps valid reason, he could have instantly made himself a suspect in that matter. The OP isn't under any obligation to expose himself to potential arrest and I would have done exactly what he did and steered clear.

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There was another thread recently where a cacher encountered police because the cache he was looking for was in an area where a fire had been deliberately set a few days before. Quite understandable that his activity, while innocent, could have been perceived as "suspcious" - but he did nothing wrong, and therefore had nothing to fear. He did speak with the police officer and went on his merry way.

 

If the cacher wasn't doing anything wrong, he has nothing to fear.

 

IMO he put himself more at risk for keeping under the radar - had he been spotted after the fact by the police officer, he'd have been more likely to be detained and questioned because he did try to avoid the encounter.

 

It's a catch-22 at times I guess. I still think if he was not doing anything wrong, or was not where he shouldn't have been, there was no reason to fear. Remember - police officers are there to protect and serve - not to rustle people up "just because".

 

I guess people's perceptions about LEO makes a difference. I was raised to think that police officers are "my friends"... but many are raised to think police officers are the enemy...

 

If I'd been in that situation, I would probably have just made myself available to the officer, along with my geocaching gear and a brochure.

 

I guess to each his own.

 

Jenn

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I've had a few encounters with law enforcement officers while caching, twice with the same National Park Ranger, both times while looking for caches adjacent to a National Park. The first time we chatted a little about geocaching (which he knew about) assuring him the cache was not on Nat'l Park land. The second time he merely passed by me asking "Didja find it"?

 

Another encounter was in a small city park when a local police officer approached me and asked if I was the one that called about suspicious behavior in the park. I guess I looked suspicious to someone but not to him!

 

Most recently while trying to figure out how to discreetly approach a cache I'd spotted (it was next to a building where little girls were having a birthday party), two men in suits rounded a corner. When they saw me, one pointed at me and they both started walking toward me. As they got closer, I could see badges on their jackets. It soon became obvious they were definitely walking to me. When they got to me, I could see the badges said "U.S. MARSHALL".

 

At that point, one them asked me "Are you looking for (pick the right answer):

 

A: trouble?

B: a little girl to kidnap?

C: the geocache?

 

Fortunately, the answer was "C".

 

My favorite encounter though had to be with a muggle early in my geocaching career. I had found a geocache a short distance off the path. I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings though as I logged the cache, and I looked up and saw an elderly gentleman standing on the path looking straight at me. He asked, in a distinctly British accent, "Pardon my interruption, but may I ask what is it that you're doing?" As I explained as simply and clearly as I could about geocaching, he interjected "Oh, I see - somewhat like letterboxing!" Turns out he was a veteran letterboxer back in England.

 

But wait, there's more! About halfway to the car, I realized I'd left something at the cache site. I returned to retrieve the item, I look up and it's none other than the same man making another loop around the trail. He just looks at me and deadpans "I would think they would be somewhat easier to find the second time, are they not?"

 

Point is, as long as where you are and what you're doing is legal, so what if someone report suspicous behavior? It just adds to the adventure.

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I do not have a negative view of police. I did nothing to insult the police. And I was confronted for taking pictures; I even had the video camera running at the time the hummer pulled up to prove it.

 

Screw you all!

 

Dude - you need to chill. Nobody's attacking you here - just bantering your encounter about a bit, and sharing some amusing anectotes and opinions.

 

Respectfully - you appear to have a rather defensive attitude - perhaps *that* is part of the problem? Again - I'm not trying to be disrespectful or stir the pot - but you really "sound" -dare I say - a slight bit paranoid.

 

Jenn

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Screw you all!

 

Wow, you've got some serious issues... :wacko:

 

I found this thread to be very interesting and followed it since it was new. I especially appreciated the commenhts from law enforcement. It's a shame you are too defensive and paranoid to take this thread for what it was -- a learning experience. I myself have just printed some of the tri-fold geocaching brochures and added them to our goody bag. If I'm ever confronted by law enforcement while out searching for a cache, I definitely WON'T handle it the way you did. You need to take a good hard look at yourself and the way you deal with people (in person AND on the forum.) In any case, I appreciated the input that so many of you added to this thread, even though it is clear the original poster did not. Happy Caching! :D

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Interesting thread :D

...I've got a couple of customers who *look* very threatening - biker types, all sleeved out in tats and piercings - if you did not know them, you might be afraid just by their appearance. Actually they are two of the nicest, most respectful, polite customers I've got - but first impressions can be wrong....

 

As a rule the 'types' I've met who fit that description enjoy the reaction they cause, but prove to be nice folks.

 

My favorite intimidation moment involved an Ex Football player and his father. Both 300lbs or more and mostly muscle. They ran a construction site and had called a special meeting to talk to me (the engineer) about something they didn't like about my plans. They walked me to the spot in question, one on each side just a little too close. When we got there they both turned to me (so I couldn't look at both at the same time) and pretty much asked with cat that ate the canary smirks why the heck I was doing something so stupid when their way was ever so much simpler and it would be an easy change to make. I'm not a small guy myself but I have to say I knew where the power was in that conversation. I told them the problem that I was trying to solve, why I did it the way I did it, and when they thought about it they agreed, and shook my hand. I actually got the impression that they were relieved that I stuck to my guns and wasn't just full of BS on what seemed like a stupid thing.

 

They proved to be nice folks but you did have to earn your way with them. They knew the effect they had on people and did use it to their advantage.

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First of all Pater...thanks for the laugh I needed it!

 

Second, I am not convinced that the lady in question called the police about the cacher in the park. Maybe there was a medical emergency at her home. Because you did not stay and see and make yourself available for explanation, you will never know. May have had nothing whatever to do with you. Not all older people, women or men are as alarmist or silly as you think. Some of us are even cahcers.

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As a rule the 'types' I've met who fit that description enjoy the reaction they cause, but prove to be nice folks.

 

That's true I suppose - but I've seen a few folks who looked utterly ridiculous - and they *had* to know it, and it's hard to keep a straight face sometimes when you want to burst out laughing... but I digress...

 

I have a neighbour who is a "challenging personality" such as what the OP described. She's not a good neighbour and she makes trouble for anybody that she can - so I put up a fence between my yard and hers (her yard backs up to mine - or vice versa!). Good fences make good neighbours in this case.

 

I can see both sides of the coin in this discussion - honestly I can. There sometimes are people who push a panic button for no reason. That statement can apply to either party in the subject discussed :D

 

Jenn

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You're right - but have you ever noticed that it's hard not to look guilty if you're accused of something - even if you're not guilty!!

It turns out that this is the hardest part of learning to be a decent magician. Too often, with beginner magicians, they concentrate very hard on the technical aspects of the tricks, but neglect to practice not looking guilty. As a result, you can often tell that something happened at a particular point, even if you don't know exactly what it was.

 

It's the same thing with geocaching. If you are trying hard not to be noticed, you will be noticed because of it. On the other hand, if you behave as if you have every right to be where you are (and, if you are geocaching properly, you do), then it is much less likely that people will be suspicious of you. And if law enforcement does stop you, being completely forthright, honest, matter-of-fact, and understanding of their situation (they have no idea of who you are or what you are doing) is very helpful.

 

I've had several contacts with law enforcement while geocaching, and every single one has been pleasant, civil, and respectful on both sides. I have never felt threatened in the least.

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When I first started caching, there was a good thread about geo-stealth and tips for us newbs and how to not attract attention.

 

One of the bits of advice was to "hide in plain sight" - exactly what you're saying - have a purpose and LOOK like you're where you should be, doing what you should be doing. I've done just that in a few places, and not had a problem (yet). Although the time I was walking up a roadside, the man who was weed-whacking nearby gave me a strange look - but he did NOT follow me when I ducked into the bushes off to the side of the road. Perhaps he was afraid of what he might have found me doing in there!! LOL!

 

Parks are the places I am most relaxed - I try to do micros in parking lots etc., either on holidays or after hours.

 

The cache near me is in a parking lot (sort of) and it's really funny to watch people trying desperately not to be obvious :D

 

Jenn

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One of the bits of advice was to "hide in plain sight" - exactly what you're saying - have a purpose and LOOK like you're where you should be, doing what you should be doing.

 

Quite often I wear a nearly thorn proof Carhartt coveralls, a camo ball cap, and my GPS very visable. When necessary pull out PDA and then off with the GPS. I had a LOE stop next to me a week ago, while I was signing a log in a school parking lot, and asked if I was doing some survey work. I said I sure was and he said thanks and drove off. Hiding in plain sight works most all the time.

 

The times I have encountered LOE or Game Wardens, etc. I start off telling them about geocaching. Most have heard about it and so far have all wanted to know more. Slows down the hunt but makes another informed person that you might need some day.

:D

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i think he retired today. that was one of the more entertaining geocides i've seen. talk about thin skinned.

Naw, not really very entertaining at all. I'd only give it a 6.4 because he didn't bother to archive his caches and he didnt even use the proper thread.

 

Am I the only one who had to look up the word moonbat? :D:wacko:

I am well aware of what it's supposed to mean, but I have no idea how the OP determined she was a moonbat without knowing a thing about her except her approximate age. :D

Edited by Mopar
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and there are still some people who wonder why so few minorities are geocachers.

 

Huh?

 

It's fairly common. The brainless right-wingers tend to parrot it pretty often along with whatever other ideas they are being spoonfed from their misinformation source of choice.

 

Is that any different from the brainless left wingers who parrot what they are spoonfed from their misinformation source of choice?

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Is that any different from the brainless left wingers who parrot what they are spoonfed from their misinformation source of choice?

 

not at all. (not really relevant to the term currently being discussed of course.)

 

I still don't get the leap from a single person using the term moonbat to the dearth of minority geocachers.

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i think he retired today. that was one of the more entertaining geocides i've seen. talk about thin skinned.

Naw, not really very entertaining at all. I'd only give it a 6.4 because he didn't bother to archive his caches and he didnt even use the proper thread.

 

A rambling, five paragraph statement on their own personal website, like a recent high profile geocide would have been nice. :D

 

5.5

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A rambling, five paragraph statement on their own personal website, like a recent high profile geocide would have been nice. :D

 

5.5

 

you know, i saw that one, and i thought the website was a nice touch.

 

i think this one gets extra points because of the suddenness and the low threshhold.

 

it gives me a giggle every time i see one of those they'll-miss-me-when-i'm-gone geocides. the one thing they have in common is that pretty much nobody misses them.

 

i always want to say "was it a fun game before you read the forums?"

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A rambling, five paragraph statement on their own personal website, like a recent high profile geocide would have been nice. :D

 

5.5

you know, i saw that one, and i thought the website was a nice touch.
I totally missed that one, I think.
it gives me a giggle every time i see one of those they'll-miss-me-when-i'm-gone geocides. the one thing they have in common is that pretty much nobody misses them.
I already don't remember this guy.
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We Had a funny night time encounter with a Lady Leo, We were searcing a pedestian tunnel on a walkway and found and logged the cache the on our way out a Police car pulls up with lights on and she looks down the tunnel and around and then comes to my Jeep and asks " are you waiting for someone?" We explained our game and you can here her radio dispatch trying to explain, Then she says the Cameras picked us up with strange behavoiur down in the tunnel....Nuff said have fun and explain what your doing if and when aproched.

 

Greg

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It's also possible the lady has observed problems with "males" using the park as a pickup place unrelated to geocaching and just made an assumption. Or the park maybe had a problem with a sex predator with kids. We really don't know. I wouldn't take it personally.

 

Just always be honest with the police and don't lie to them. Better a cache get sacrificed then digging yourself into trouble with the cops. Caches can always be replaced.

Edited by gpsblake
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The joys of urban caching :)

 

My 2 cents with some change left over:

 

You control how people make you feel - guilty, ashamed, uncomfortable, and on and on. Funny thing is most people myself included let our vivid imaginations run away and have way too many what if scenarios run through our heads when reality usually isn't as dramatic as we imagine.

 

If you just go out and geocache and don't overthink what you are doing you won't look suspicious and you will probably forget about all the people that may be watching you. If you think about it for a minute, you realize that most people don't care and you aren't the center of the universe. How often do you really obsess about what other people are doing? People have this wierd idea that everything they are doing is somehow interesting to EVERYONE around them.

 

In urban caching, especially parks, people do all sorts of wierd things. Most people aren't going to give you a second look. It's human nature to size you up and either dismiss or watch you. If you are a guy in the deep woods of park, a lone female jogger is likely to keep an eye on you till you are at a safe distance (duh!) and us poor guys are liable to forget geocaching during that time since we can't keep our eyes off most women (hey its a natural reaction :laughing: ).

 

If I am going to be approached by someone I would rather it be a cop. They don't have time for BS and it rarely takes more than a few moments of your time to answer their questions and be on your way. If you do manage to come across the one butthead LEO who wants to hassle you over it, so what... no different than someone deciding to have picnic near the cache you are looking for. Pack it up and move on to the next one. I've worked for LEO agencies for a long time, just tell them what you are doing (politeness goes a LLLLLOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG way) and you will be on your way in less time it takes to wait out a muggle near a cache.

 

Busybodies and nervous Nelly's have been around forever... who cares. You only feed their sense of power by running from them or letting them make you feel bad for doing nothing wrong. It's a crazy world out there and sometimes those nosey people save lives. At worst its an annoyance and gives you something to talk about later with your friends.

 

It's a game and the nosey people are just varying difficulty levels for the cache :) Somedays it may be a 1 and some days it's a 5 ;)

 

And to the OP if you are still out there. RELAX.... it's just a game. Have some fun and smile. Smiling is the most disarming thing you can do.

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I still don't get the leap from a single person using the term moonbat to the dearth of minority geocachers.

why are you linking two unrelated posts? :ph34r:

 

the op was about having someone decide to call the cops on you for no real reason.

 

Not sure what your experience in that area is, but if you talk to most minorities they probably have a slightly different experience than you.

 

They shouldn't , but the cops (and others) around here tend to treat a scrawney pasty white nerd crouching in the bushes a bit differently than a large black man in the exact same situation.

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Of course they are treated differently. One is scrawny, while the other is large. A large person is often perceived to be a greater threat than a smaller person. Through the perception of an increased threat level, the second person would probably be treated in a more guarded fashion. Or are you implying that Minnesota cops are a bunch of racists who would treat the second person differently than the first because they were a different shade of brown? If that's the case, then I feel really bad for anyone living there. Can anyone else from Minnesota confirm if your cops are a bunch of racists? Being a cop myself, (and subsequently knowing a whole chit load of other cops), I can tell you that the vast majority of us treat folks in accordance with their actions and their attitudes, not the degree of tannin present in their dermis.

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