I don’t know about all of you, but over the last year or so, I have noticed a lot of walk offs. Let me be clear, I am not talking about a walk off a la Zoolander and Hansel (because that would be AWESOME!), but thefts where the alleged thief has simply picked artwork up and walked off with it.
I have found several examples in the United States, including thefts in Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, and one in Ontario, Canada. I am sure with deeper digging, we could find even more. But what I found most interesting, is that these were random people, in broad daylight, in busy public buildings, hospitals, or on university campuses. They managed to elude staff, visitors, and students, and seemed little considered with video, when caught on tape. So my thoughts/questions are, “Why?” and “How do we prevent it?”. For me, people steal for a lot of reasons: money, spite, desire, fun…but the more intriguing question for me has been around how we prevent these kinds of crime. While “minor”, to me they reflect the same lack of appreciation for context and purpose as large networks of organized looters, smugglers, and crooked art dealers. If random citizens are managing these types of crimes, what hope do we have of stopping much more serious criminals from stealing even more significant pieces of art?
Is it as simple as paying more attention or do we need more serious security systems in place? I don’t know what the answer is, but I like blue steel WAY BETTER than red handed? (See what I did there?)