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collapsibletank

Solve the problem of theft.

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I have heard quite a few stories of caches being quite obviously stolen, rather than muggled. For example whole series in one hit going 'missing', or specifically only bespoke or beautiful containers disappearing.

 

Premium membership effectively limits this problem to thieves who are themselves members, but does not and cannot resolve the problem completely.

 

My question is this: Is it possible to generate a list of users who have viewed your listing? - with dates?

 

If that is possible, then it would be not impossible to gather the data of all caches that disappear suspiciously, say in a specific area, compare with data from untroubled caches, and look for patterns that flag specific users.

 

My intuition is that with a big enough dataset, and we certainly have that, it would be very difficult for individual users to hide the correlation between their view history and the disappearance of caches.

 

???

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There is the Audit Log available for owners of Premium Member Only caches.

 

I have to ask, though, even if you could identify the caching account being used, what then? Odds are that it won't be a veteran cacher with thousands of finds, but rather a newly-created account with a throw-away email address. If Groundspeak were to ban that account, there's nothing stopping that person from just opening a new account.

 

Some people just get a kick out of ruining things for others. There's nothing Groundspeak can do to change their mentality. My mother just recently had to archive a cache of hers that has been muggled several times. The last couple of times, it was hidden in an area where muggles definitely would not stumble across it. Someone with knowledge of caching used the coordinates to go there and take it. They were targeting this specific cache for no apparent reason. Someone else just placed a new cache in that area yesterday, so it'll be interesting to see if that one has the same problem.

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Aah, that was it. I knew it was somewhere.

 

Fair enough that there will always be cracks in the armour - I won't list them! - But I still think that the main strength of the geocaching community in this context is its dataset - along with the willingness for cachers to come together on each others' behalf.

 

It wouldn't catch everyone, but it could catch some - and importantly deter others...?

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I have seen previous very false accusations based on the Audit logs.

 

Keep in mind that you can view caches in many different ways. From the cache listing page, bookmark list(s), Pocket Queries, via the new API and smartphones - etc..... The audit logs just do not show all of those ways of viewing page data. Add to that, sock puppet accounts, some devices allow wireless sharing and more.

 

Sometimes theft is just that - theft. From somebody that stumbled upon a cache or a hide style that is common. Nothing to do with fellow Geocachers.

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There seems to be a geocaching thief at large in Devon at the moment, nothing to do with muggles. As CT says, several entire series have been swiped at once recently - including some really good ones where a lot of hard work has gone into the creation of the hides. Heart breaking, and unsurprisingly they've ended up being archived.

 

Sock puppet accounts don't factor into Premium Only hides, unless the malicious person is especially rich.

 

I dislike the idea of premium only hides but sometimes there is the choice of that or no hide at all.

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My optimistic side thinks that the enjoyment that thousands of people get out of caching is greater, and will prevail, over whatever satisfaction a small number of people get out of spoiling it...

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Unfotunately there is not much we can do but try to show that it doesn't cause us too much grief. Last year I built a beautiful bird feeder with hidden compartment for the cache and hung it from a tree in front of my house. Someone stole it and I am certain that it was a muggle who now has it in their garden and probably dosen't know it has a cache(with a geocoin) in it!

I am making another as I want the cache to continue.

Yesterday I have had to temporarily disable a cache as someone opened the hide I had made, removéd the plactic lock box and kindly out the logbook and pencil back into the hide, which is now soaking wet. For sure it was another cacher, I guess he desperately needed the box!

The point is there are pigs like this playing almost every game in existance, I choose not to let it get me down and will continue to produce quality caches. B)

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even if you could identify the caching account being used, what then?

I'm wondering the same thing.

 

Odds are that it won't be a veteran cacher with thousands of finds, but rather a newly-created account with a throw-away email address. If Groundspeak were to ban that account, there's nothing stopping that person from just opening a new account.

 

Some people just get a kick out of ruining things for others.

Those odds are solely due to there being more newly-created accounts than veteran cachers.

 

Cachers who destroy/steal caches are on their way out of the game anyway. Accusing them by name might not help at all, but could cause them to perform a more spectacular exit.

Edited by kunarion

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Accusing them by name might not help at all, but could cause them to perform a more spectacular exit.

 

That's funny, and so true.

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I view on the website, every new cache that gets published in my area. I also view every cache that I plan on hunting on any particular day. Would that make me a suspect?

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There really is no effective way to determine who might be stealing caches in an area.

...with the possible exception of a 24 hour 'stakeout' on the cache, with night vision scopes and motion-activated cameras.

And then what? Call the cops because someone took a mint-tin with a piece of paper in it? :lol:

Cache maggots happen, and it's a product of the ever-increasing popularity of the game.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. :(

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There really is no effective way to determine who might be stealing caches in an area.

...with the possible exception of a 24 hour 'stakeout' on the cache, with night vision scopes and motion-activated cameras.

 

Not really. Hunting stores carry game cameras which work at night and take either pictures or video. They are not really that expensive, as I've bought a few which may be in deployment. ;) Deliberate theft is prosecutable, even if it is only a $6 ammo can.

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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I view on the website, every new cache that gets published in my area. I also view every cache that I plan on hunting on any particular day. Would that make me a suspect?

Sadly, to some people it would, even though it shouldn't.

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There has been someone who stole a cache and was successfully prosecuted. It was in the forums. Try a search.

 

There were whole areas wiped out here in WA. He targeted our most popular caches: the ape cache (tunnel of light) and the oldest cache in WA (GCD)

and all the caches leading to GCD. There was another hiking trail nearby (Rattlesnake Ridge) that was cleared out too. Well the ones he could find anyway. The harder ones were left. :laughing: :laughing:

 

All that was brought up on the forums at the time.

 

One big lesson we learned in the "off topic" forums here, is that people will do a lot for attention. When they don't get the kind of attention they want, they go away.

 

The more we go on about how upsetting this is, the more it's going to happen. they feed off that attention.

 

The more we just go on with our lives, the better off we will be.

It's a sucky world, and these things will happen.

Those people are hurting inside so badly the only entertainment they can get in life is to try to hurt others. It's very sad, but best to not let it get to us. There are a lot of them out there.

 

It's just tupperware (most the time). The game will go on.

No one has died.

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Oh. I just re-read the question.

 

I just said how to not make it worse.

 

 

How to solve it?

 

premium member only caches work in some areas.

Chaining the ammo box to the tree works in some areas (I know of one that got muggled though, but I think it was on private property, so I'll bet the owners removed it)Oh wait, I know of two that got muggled. Well it's worked for other ones.

 

If there have been a lot of thefts in one area, I love the camera idea. Definitely give that a shot.

The guy who was prosecuted got caught because cachers staked out the area, I believe. I could be wrong, but I think that was it. He was a repeater.

 

For casual muggling, the harder the hide, usually the less it's muggled. Perhaps that works for cachers who steal too. If they can't find it they can't take it. :laughing: :laughing: That worked for some caches in the Rattlesnake Ridge area. One was just downright really hard to get to.

 

For casual muggling, hides that are not in well-populated ares stick around the longest.

 

For the rest, pray that they can heal their pain, for their own sake, as well as everyone around them.

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You can get one of these for between $69 - $99 if you look around. Or get a used one on Ebay for $30. Find an area without any type of muggle traffic at all, make the cache PMO but place it in a predictable location. Somewhere where ordinary muggles will never find it, but a cacher would zero in at with a terrain of 1.5 or so. Then get a ladder and place it in a tree or somewhere well camoed, different from the hint. If someone intentionally goes to steal the cache, you can have them prosecuted for theft. I would not call the cops, but rather go to them instead. Or just replace the cache and upload the pictures and videos to the cache page.

 

180361_ts.jpg

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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-- If someone intentionally goes to steal the cache, you can have them prosecuted for theft. ---

The problem with this is when the cache was placed somewhere on land without obtaining the consent of the landowner. In such cases the culprit would probably be successful in escaping conviction by claiming he was removing 'litter/trash'.

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I can't help thinking with that camera that you'd just be down the cost of a camera as well as a cache...

 

Also - if it was deliberately set to catch humans rather than animals, whether there might be a problem with the legality. "Reasonable expectation of privacy" - although the CCTV Guidelines tend to give private rooms as examples, not woodland, so it might be ok!

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I can't help thinking with that camera that you'd just be down the cost of a camera as well as a cache...

 

 

Especially if the thief is operating at night.

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Those IR game cams would work, but is this even prosecutable?? At which point is something abandoned property?? There are too many loopholes, I doubt the police would even do anything about it...Lets face it, we're placing little boxes of junk out in the woods and expecting someone who stumbles on it to leave the cache alone. When you place a cache, or place something in a cache, you have to be prepared that you may never see that item again.

 

The only way that this could be prosecuted IMO, is if the cache(s) is placed on private property.

Edited by mvarley84

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I can't help thinking with that camera that you'd just be down the cost of a camera as well as a cache...

 

Also - if it was deliberately set to catch humans rather than animals, whether there might be a problem with the legality. "Reasonable expectation of privacy" - although the CCTV Guidelines tend to give private rooms as examples, not woodland, so it might be ok!

 

On public property, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy...some thing with private land that is not yours. Restrooms/change rooms are the only things I can think of where there is an expectation of privacy.

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Those IR game cams would work, but is this even prosecutable?? At which point is something abandoned property?? There are too many loopholes, I doubt the police would even do anything about it...Lets face it, we're placing little boxes of junk out in the woods and expecting someone who stumbles on it to leave the cache alone. When you place a cache, or place something in a cache, you have to be prepared that you may never see that item again.

 

The only way that this could be prosecuted IMO, is if the cache(s) is placed on private property.

 

Despite the legal arguments, there are simple facts that can't be ignored. In my city, the police drive around all day with a list of minor calls on their mobile displays that never seem to get handled because they are handling much bigger issues. They don't even respond to traffic accidents if every one is documented and there are no injuries. "I left my Tupperware box in a bush in the park two years ago, and someone stole it" might get you evaluated at the psych ward. It certainly wont get you a police report.

 

The Superior Court in our county just announced budget cuts and the closing of 57 court room. They don't have time to try the murderers. Any city or district attorney that charged such a case would probably get reprimanded for wasting the courts time.

 

So, the question remains, what do you do if you catch them? Hopefully not something stupid enough to get that police response.

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I can't help thinking with that camera that you'd just be down the cost of a camera as well as a cache...

 

 

Especially if the thief is operating at night.

 

It captures good, high quality picture and video at night.

 

If someone stumbles upon the cache on accident, it is much different than if they intentionally seek it out. Its best to go to the police station on your own and file charges yourelf in most cases.

 

Or, just post a picture on the cache page so other cachers know who to look out for.

 

All too often cachers try to blame someone for a missing cache based on the audit log. Getting a picture of who it is, is much better.

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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If that is possible, then it would be not impossible to gather the data of all caches that disappear suspiciously, say in a specific area, compare with data from untroubled caches, and look for patterns that flag specific users.

 

My intuition is that with a big enough dataset, and we certainly have that, it would be very difficult for individual users to hide the correlation between their view history and the disappearance of caches.

For this to be remotely effective, an amount of data too large to be manually analysed would need to be compared. Software would need to be developed to parse the list of viewers of all the caches in an area and make a determination to which users are suspicious. A CO can't just look at a list of names after their cache goes missing and say "CacherA looked at your listing too and it went missing? Guilty!" Creating this sort of artificial intelligence is a huge endeavor that Groundspeak doesn't have the resources for, especially when all they can do with the data is ban the users and they can just make a new account. This could also generate a large number of false positives and fail to catch just as many cache thieves.

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