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How Do You Guys Look Harmless?


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My dogs and I (a woman) found a cache and a very small, family/kiddie oriented park. It got me thinking that if I were a 20-30 year old man with no female or child or dog along, I'd possibly look like Chester the Mollester. Do you single guys stay out of parks like this during family time? How do you avoid appearing like a drooling lurker?

 

Just curious...

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Hi - Jif here. I'm well above the 20-30 range, and a guy, but I still have the worries HoundGrrl mentioned. I simply will not look in playgrounds without my wife. My reasoning: why do I want to cause such worry on the part of the parents? So, hunting these with my wife is the only way to go.

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I just go for it, dont worry about them and they might not notice you. As for hiding the GPS, talk to it like a cell phone, it works for me all the time. To avoid them seeing the container and thinking it is a bomb, find it by just standing around and glancing, then when you see it walk by and just grap it and keep walking to a long way away and sign the log them bring it back and return it the same way. If someone calls the cops, show the cop the GPS and the cache page, they cant arrest you for just being there, so what do you have to worry about? I have also herd of people (and tryed it a few time) to look very obvious, but look like you belong, if you try to hide they will notice, if you are in an orange saftey vest and are carrying a clipboard with an electric gadget on it (GPS), no one will notice

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My two best techniques, refined over two years and numerous interrogations by persons of authority and busybodies who think they are persons of authority:

 

1. Don't act or look like you are trying to conceal what you're doing. If you portray confidence and look calm and at ease, you raise less suspicion. You can still search while walking "with a purpose." If someone asks me what I'm doing, I first say "I'm enjoying the park. Isn't it a nice day just to walk around?" There is nothing wrong with geocaching. Don't act like you have something to hide. (Of course, don't give away the cache location, either!)

 

2. I wear an olive green hat, vest and pants. I have electronic geeky things hanging off my vest and belt. I am mistaken regularly for a park ranger, a game warden, a bird watcher, a parks volunteer and a scientist/naturalist. Sometimes the best "cover" is to stand out. Other people accomplish the same goal by wearing a hard hat and orange vest, or by carrying a clipboard.

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My two best techniques, refined over two years and numerous interrogations by persons of authority and busybodies who think they are persons of authority:

 

1.  Don't act or look like you are trying to conceal what you're doing.  If you portray confidence and look calm and at ease, you raise less suspicion.  You can still search while walking "with a purpose." If someone asks me what I'm doing, I first say "I'm enjoying the park. Isn't it a nice day just to walk around?"  There is nothing wrong with geocaching.  Don't act like you have something to hide.  (Of course, don't give away the cache location, either!)

 

2.  I wear an olive green hat, vest and pants.  I have electronic geeky things hanging off my vest and belt.  I am mistaken regularly for a park ranger, a game warden, a bird watcher, a parks volunteer and a scientist/naturalist.  Sometimes the best "cover" is to stand out.  Other people accomplish the same goal by wearing  a hard hat and orange vest, or by carrying a clipboard.

Along, the same lines of Lep's step two to being non-obvious, I have my own sort of geocacher camoflage.

 

At a store in the mall near me, there's a store called Steve and Barry's University Sportswear. They have all kinds of stuff and relatively cheap. Especially random, but well organized t-shirts. I picked one up about 2 weeks ago that I've been wearing just about every time I go caching.

 

What is it? First I'll tell you what it's not. It is NOT camoflage, and it's not anything to try and make me blend in. It's the opposite.

 

The shirt is bright yellow and says "STAFF" in big blue letters on the back. When I get close to the cache, I just take off my backpack, lay it down and start looking around. People see the shirt and for some odd reason don't mind me being there.

 

And the great thing is, it's perfectly legal. Unless you actually try to tell someone that you're Park Staff or something, you're not breaking the law, people are just assuming that your some kind of staff member.

 

The same thing goes with wearing orange vests, anyone can buy an orange vest, but people for some reason immediately assume that because someone looks official, they actually are. And there's nothing wrong with letting people believe that, as long as you don't actually tell them that you're something you're not.

 

 

The main way I look harmless is just being myself. I'm a fourteen year old guy with a young golden retriever, not only is the dog a babe magnet, but she gives me some kind of reason for actually being at the park walking around...

Edited by TeamK-9
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My dogs and I (a woman) found a cache and a very small, family/kiddie oriented park. It got me thinking that if I were a 20-30 year old man with no female or child or dog along, I'd possibly look like Chester the Mollester. Do you single guys stay out of parks like this during family time? How do you avoid appearing like a drooling lurker?

 

Just curious...

That is exactly how I clear out the park so I can find the cache undisturbed. Lazyboy seems to have the right idea.

 

Normally I cache with friends and family. Depending on our equipment and dress people either ignore us or write down our plate number.

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Something I've thought of trying ... wear an orange safety vest, hold the GPS in front of you, pace back and forth ... they'll think you work for the city, to mark out a new road that will be taking the place of the park ... this way they throw stones, instead of calling the cops. :lol:

 

On a more serious note (well not bad serious, just not being stupid/funny) ... it's not too tough to pass your GPS off as a camera. A couple weeks ago, my daughter and I were in a park checking my own cache (for fear of loss in a flood, but all was ok), a lady stopped us and asked if we wanted her to take our picture possed by the rushing creek. I almost said, "but we don't have a camera" ... then I caught myself. Should would have been impressed to discover that we had 87 53.096 "pictures" on our "camera". :back:

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I tend to save playground caches for when I have my 9-year-old daughter with me. In other urban areas I sometimes wear my picture ID badge from work. For some reason it seems to put people at ease - maybe it looks like I'm on a job, although I don't know what job it would be.

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1) Clipboard. The Aluminum one used by Utilities and wildlife researchers is useful.

 

2) Binoculars or a Camera or treat the GPS like a light sensor. People think you're birding or just taking pictures.

 

3) Go with a group of 3 or more. For some reason, large groups are very unworthy of note in this area. Then you can always say it's a scavenger hunt.

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To look less intimidating, I leave the bayonet off of my Kalashnikov. :back:

 

OK, seriously, I just don't act like I'm a pervert that's skulking about. I try to keep a respectful distance, I smile, I say hello when it's appropriate, make small talk about my 14-month old daughter, whatever. I generally do the same when hiking in parks or rural areas and I encounter a female hiker/biker/horseback rider out by herself. I try to act like a nice guy, which is usually pretty easy to do because geocaching usually puts me in a fine mood.

 

It may also help if they happen to see the decals on my Jeep that show that I am associated with a local police department. :lol:

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I don't care what others think, I think they look funny.

I do carry my camera everywhere, that might help a bit. For the most part though, people could care less, from what I see. Just don't stare at them, looking around to see if anyone is watching...that makes it worse

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I just drag my blankie behind me as I crawl up to the area. . .

 

Actually I try to avoid areas with younger kids around. I usually am carring the Geocache description sheets with me when I go so I don't worry about trying to explain myself to authorities but appreciate the concern that some parents might feel seeing a lone man in a park around their children.

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Or, borrow a kid for a few hours. Most of us parents would enjoy a few hours off while you take our kid to a playground.

Babysit for free? Nah, I think I'll just hit the playground at sunrise, when the kiddies are still in bed. Or maybe on a rainy afternoon, when the parents have the kids all home.

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I'm an almost 40 male. I'll ask my girlfriend to cache-along if I'm going to be in a busy park, but if her schedule doesn't allow it, I'll go it alone.

 

As a volunteer communicator (ham radio) I have probably close to two dozen brightly colored (hazard orange, day-glow yellow/green, etc.) shirts that say either VOLUNTEER, STAFF or SECURITY across the front and/or back. Almost every event issues shirts to their volunteers. Sometimes the name of the event is listed in smaller print, however most people don't bother to look that closely. The see VOLUNTEER/STAFF/SECURITY and don't give another look.

 

Another benefit to the event shirts is that I don't care what happens to them. I have plenty more and I usually get five or six per year. Today I was crawling under an old railroad caboose that is on static display looking for a micro. If the greasy dirt doesn't come out - so what.

 

I also find that when I have a radio in a belt holster, even when wearing street clothes, most people figure I'm either some kind of public safety or utility employee. Maybe the antennas on my truck have something to do with that also.

Edited by NoLemon
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I think it depends on how you look.  If you have holy clothes , missing teeth and have a whole lotta tattoos, then you would look more suspicious.  If you look like a nice model citizen that wears golfer clothes, you would look less suspicious.

That how to do it. Wear plaid pants, golf shoes and carry a golf club. If people ask what you are doing, just tell them you are looking for your golf ball....in alot of caches, that's probably the truth.

Edited by poppagoth
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I think it depends on how you look. If you have holy clothes , missing teeth and have a whole lotta tattoos, then you would look more suspicious. If you look like a nice model citizen that wears golfer clothes, you would look less suspicious.

That would be me, sans the missing teeth. :back:

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well, there's this thing about the unfair assumption that a single man at a playground is bad news. in this day and age of rising violence among women ( not against women, but the more alarming trend of rising criminal behavior BY women), it is an especially unfair characterization. parks and playgrounds belong to men just as much as to grown women.

 

aside from that, the best defense is not to look sneaky. you are not committing a crime. you are engaged in a respectable recreational pastime. if i am not close enough to a chance to give away its position, i will cheerfully explain to anybody who asks exactly what i am doing there.

 

if i am too close to the cache, i move away from it as if i had not seen it and cheerfully answer. if i am asked by a law enforcement officer, i explain politely and promptly.

 

if you like camouflage, there are plenty of activities you could pretend to be doing; birding, walking, running, biking, mushroom hunting, dog-walking, photography, blah, bla, blah.

 

in some neighborhoods you blend in better if you don't bathe and mutter to yourself in languages unknown to any population on the planet. then adjust your tinfoil hat and hunt all you want.

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I recently did a cache where the trailhead was in back of a school, in back of the playground. It was about 12:30 on a Thursday, too, so there were kids on the playground. I just parked and walked right to the trail and never got a second look from any teachers or the kids. I figure that if they're going to have a public trail start right next to the playground they've got to expect people to use it at all hours. I've never seen a playground with an age limit, either. If the parents don't like it, tough.

 

I always try to be inconspicuous when it comes to retrieving the cache. I’ve used the old GPS as a phone trick plenty of times, and it works like a charm. It also seems like having a hiking stick keeps people from eyeing me. I refuse to let paranoia interfere with caching, though. Parents can get creeped out all they want, but in the end I’m not doing a thing wrong.

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Dittos on the "Act like you're doing what you're supposed to be doing" camouflage.

 

Also the clipboard is REAL handy for a variety of tasks. I've used one to get into concerts and backstage at plays.

 

I try to avoid areas with JUST kids, though. Not out of fear of discovery but out of respect for the kids' parents. I would be uncomfortable with some scruffy guy like me hanging out where my kids were playing.

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If the cache is hidden on or near the playground equipment, I come by when it's empty- a rainy day or very early/late.

I did a multi last weekend where the legs had you counting things at various playgrounds around town. I had the printout and only looked up to get the info, otherwise not paying attention to the mothers or kids. No problems. If anyone had asked, I would have shown them the printout and explained geocaching.

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Recently I drove at the cache site at a popular recreational park of the city I was caching in. There was this beautiful gothic style gazebo by a pond and as I knew the place before I thought the container was hidden in the gazebo. As I parked beside the gazebo I noticed, to my great disappointment, that it was swarming with geomuggles. At least thirty of them there. The GPSr didn't point exactly at the gazebo so there was a little hope I could find the container.

 

I stepped outside the car and felt some curious gazes in my neck, but I tried to act as nonchalantly and harmless as I could with my 300+ find experience including lots of muggle diversion. My evasive maneuvers included casual walking by the pond, reading the nearby info signs, talking to my mobile phone, taking photos, 'making notes' on my cache printout etc. All the time I tried to pinpoint the exact location of the cache with my GPSr and to my great relief I finally concluded it isn't in the gazebo, but instead at the nearby old trees. Soon I was able to reach to the cache, and as I was able to do it from a blind angle of the people in the gazebo, so I could be sure I didn't reveal the hiding place to them. Besides, they seemed to mind their own business all the time and not paying attention to me, as I saw from the corner of my eye when I was searching the cache.

 

I was very proud of myself being able to be so sneaky and stealthy, and just when I was stepping back into my car one of the gazebo-people shouted at me something like Hey, are you some kind of a treasure hunter, or what? :lol::back: After a 1½ second of amazement I figured some of them must know about geocaching and have seen my GPSr, so I replied Yeah, how did you know? and went talking to them. No one had heard of geocaching before, but I just had seemed so sneaky and searching for something... So much for my stealth skills after 300+ finds....:o:P :P

 

Well, we had a nice discussion. The people were a class from a school of industrial arts having an end -of-semester picnic, and some of them became really interested of geocaching after my brief lecture. At least they didn't watch me that carefully, since they didn't see me finding and rehiding the container itself. Or then again, maybe I just was so stealthy. :P

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I try to look like I know what I'm doing and where I'm going.  This helps. If you wander around aimlessly, you're bound to attract attention.  Look like you're on a mission, people won't look at you twice.

yup and no matter how much you try to look "natural" sometimes you can try too hard and actually look suspicious. so just relax and like brian said, know what you're doing and do it. trying to be sneaky is a dead give-away you're up to something. :back:

 

edit: note what divine said, that's what I meant :lol:

Edited by robert
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Personally I never thought of it, its a public park right, I'm part of the public so... I guess if I were there 4 days a weeks just hanging around there would be concern. If I were ever questioned I be honest and explain what I was doing...

I also I don't thinking of profiling people like that!

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Just dress like a super-hero. Law-enforcement assumes you are simply there (where ever you are) fighting crime. Should you need to hide, the black cowl and cape can make you disappear into the night background. In fact, in the case of geomuggles, it's better to hide. If they have dogs. Bark back.

 

Woof Woof.

 

661240_300.jpg

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Got a kick out of some of these posts . . :back:

 

As a mom, I pretty much have my radar on for ANYONE at a park, male or female. Dressed nicely or dressed like a bum. A watchful eye is a good thing, whether it's Lester the Molester, stinging nettles, hornets' nests, cougars, etc.

 

I used to work in real estate appraisal, and going out to find and photograph comparable home sales always felt reeeealy weird. I finally talked my boss into getting me one of those magnetic car signs with his business logo on it. People still probably thought the same things about me, but at least I felt better. And that's the key. You should just take on the attitude that you are SUPPOSED to be there, and then everyone else would think so too.

 

Besides, it's good practice for the parents to be on the alert. Hopefully they actually are.

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....but the more alarming trend of rising criminal behavior BY women...

Wouldn’t that be defined as lesbianism?

 

but yes, all crime is a problem regardless of the sex of the perpetrator.

uh, no. crime by women (murders, assaults, burglaries, theft, blah blah) is on the rise.

 

sexual preference does not enter into it. last time i checked, lesbianism did not involve committing crimes in most states, and even there we are talking about very different crime. i think lesbianism is more accurately defined by intimate (domestic, sexual, romantic, what-have you) relationships between women.

 

in case you're having trouble with this one, criminal acts by men on men (muggings, assaults, etc) do not qualify as homosexual acts unles sex acts are actually brought in, in which case it's sexual assault or sexual harassment in addition to other crimes that may have taken place.

 

my POINT is that it's unfair to categorize men travelling alone as any more suspect than anyone else. men unaccompanied by children have just as much right to use a parks as anybody else.

 

...unless it's simply a case of your having nor read my post carefull before responding, in which case i'll still say what i said, only less snippy.

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my POINT is that it's unfair to categorize men travelling alone as any more suspect than anyone else. men unaccompanied by children have just as much right to use a parks as anybody else.

:lol:

 

Wow, I knew there was a point in there somewhere... :lol:

 

I think you're being overly-PC about it, from my POV. These days, whether it be Big City, USA, or Armpit, BFE -- parents have to watch out for their kids. I know I will, no matter where I am. I even go so far as to set the parent's mind at ease if I'm causing suspicion by telling them about a "high-tech scavenger hunt" that is going on.

 

Spend some time with your local "missing persons" unit for some eye-opening events, and I'd bet you're a lot less protective of people who have "just as much right as anybody else."

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