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by Peter Moskos

August 25, 2011

Wouldn't it be great...

If we were all rich enough to have our own private police force that did whatever we want?

Police have better things to do that act as private security for rich corporations. I wonder how much Coach and Rolex (and other big-name products) have to "donate" to New York's elected officials and police leaders to get them to care about such a pressing matter? If Coach doesn't like people selling knock-off bags, let them hire private security.

It reminds me of the days when the rich industrialist might "borrow" a few police officers to bust the heads of striking workers. For non-violent crimes, stores need to pay for private security (who, back in the days, were pretty good themselves at busting heads).

I can't for the life of me figure out why municipal tax-payer funded police waste any of their resources cracking down on copyright infringement. This all comes to mind because of the particular absurdity and stupidity of arresting a store worker at a legitimate store for selling paper replicas of luxury goods! Chinese funeral offerings.

From the Times:
A man in street clothes entered the store and seemed particularly interested in the handbags and loafers, obviously cardboard, that have print designs that vaguely resemble Louis Vuitton’s and Gucci’s.

“He asked me, ‘How much is this?’ ” recalled Mr. Mak, pointing to a handbag on display. “I said $20, and he pulled out his badge and said, ‘Are you selling this to me?’ And then he arrested me.”

He was held overnight in a local precinct house.
He was charged with two counts of copyright infringement in the third degree. Jonathan L. Stonbely, a lawyer from Legal Aid assigned to Mr. Mak, said that he was prepared to defend his client against the charges and that he had rejected an offer from prosecutors to allow Mr. Mak to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and pay a $100 fine.
Whatever it costs to get this kind of police service, I bet it's more than I'll ever make.


Anonymous said...

That ain't nothing. Corporations routinely ask for special extraterritoriality rights. You know PCM, I often think about some concise well written criticism or agreement or insight to dovetail that I have with your post(s), then quickly erase whatever comment I started fearing that NYPD's version of COINTELPRO is watching your blog. Even I thought I was crazy, until yesterday when I read HuffPost's piece on the NYPD/CIA intelligence collusion.

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

Not all big corporations get this kind of service. Insurance companies are constantly kvetching about how they don't get any help with insurance fraud. Credit card fraud gets zero interest from the local police or the FBI (which has jurisdiction), even when the criminals are brazen enough to try to pick up their goods after they've been detected.

From the perspective of a citizen in a big city, I'd say that the only crime the police care about is murder.

PCM said...

Good point.

I should also add that much of the NYPD focus on counterfeits is driven by complaints from legitimate rent-paying businesses who don't want to be undercut by illegal street venders.

Of course if it were up to me I'd have many more legal street vendors. Street commerce is good. And good for safety.

Anonymous said...

I would beg to differ on the credit card fraud. Most of the credit card issuers and banks are not entirely helpful in providing information. I have seen cases where a device has been placed on an ATM and multiple account numbers stolen and then used for purchases. The issuing bank where the device was placed and who most of the victims where customers of still wants subpoenas for each victims account. Additionally, you would think that when they get the first 4 or 5 reports and see they all originated from one ATM between a couple of hours they would proactively seek out any other people who used that ATM and inform them/and the investigating police agency of the breach. I have yet to see that happen. Instead the victims dribble in one at a time over the course of weeks when they discover the charges.