Did someone pull off the perfect crime last week in San Jose? Consider the elements: The house in question, including the address, was published in many news accounts. The occupant was publicly known to be traveling during the break-in. Police in San Jose, due to a lack of officers, do not respond to crimes in progress unless bodily harm is imminent. Oh yeah. And they don’t investigate burglaries after the fact.
For these reasons, San Francisco 49ers player Ray McDonald became another crime statistic in San Jose. He was the victim of the robbery.
In a previous high-profile incident, McDonald was arrested for domestic violence. He remains under investigation but has not been charged. Meanwhile, his home and elements of his personal life have become public information. The burglars may have been after the oft-mentioned firearm that has been rumored to exist at the residence.
According to people who live in the area, burglars are prevalent in the neighborhood. Apparently these burglars also watch television. They knew the 49ers were playing a game in Arizona last weekend. What chance did McDonald have in these circumstances? He might as well have put a sign on his lawn saying, “Please feel free to rob this house. I will be out of town.”
Privacy, even for non-public individuals, is a quaint notion that no longer exists in our society. Technology—smart phone cameras, social media, etc.—has eradicated the entire concept, and the law is feckless to the point of absurdity. When celebrities can have nude pictures stolen and posted online, when GPS systems can be hacked to follow your every move and people’s phone’s can be accessed to expose who you are, what you have done, when you are doing it and even where you live—well, game over.
Not even Supreme Court Justice William O’Douglas’ famous penumbra of the Fourth Amendment can save individuals from the technology criminals use to obtain our personal information. Google anyone, and unless they are entirely off the grid, some personal information can be obtained.
Hackers recently infiltrated Home Depot’s credit card system. All that personal information is in the hands of thieves. Law enforcement can only try to play catch up.
But there are some things you can do to protect yourself in anticipation of a breach of privacy. Of course, many of these “protections” are invasions themselves. Cameras, credit monitoring services, alarm systems—all can be helpful, but nothing is guaranteed.
If you are a public figure, like Ray McDonald, it is much harder to protect your privacy. The best hope for McDonald, or any victim of a crime, is to have a competent police agency thoroughly investigate the incident and bring those who violated the law to justice as a warning to others.