About those surveillance cameras

As most of you may have noticed, we have set up surveillance cameras. We tried out the setup about two weeks ago, and now there are four: one at each entrance and each fire exit. The reason for all of this is a series of thefts and break-ins we’ve had to endure over the past months that threatened the very existence of co.up.

Like you, we hate surveillance, but the following series of events leads us to use it still. It started with money missing from the drinks bowls after events, so we asked user groups to empty those during and after their meetups. This only helped a little and was a burden on the people handling the money, so we added a little safe for bank notes. When that was stolen (in spite of being bolted to a cabinet, which was apparently not enough), we installed better door locks with keys that can’t be copied so easily. As you might remember, we tried smart locks in the past as well, but they weren’t made for our heavy steel doors.

Even after that, someone managed to enter the space overnight and on weekends. The cabinet where we keep business records and valuables was broken open over Easter, and a few thousand Euros worth of money and gear was stolen. On another occasion, personal lockers on the fifth floor were forced open, and lastly the office on the third floor was broken in to, which resulted in missing laptops.

After all these incidents, we were lead to suspect that this was probably an inside job: somebody familiar with the routines in co.up. There where some weaknesses used that we could not fix, like the fire doors always having to be unlockable from the inside and the fact that they are seldomly checked when the space is locked up. Moreover, spare keys were stolen during the break-ins.

After swapping locks two more times and all the break-ins, we pulled the cord last week, temporarily cancelling all events, putting in yet another set of new locks and no longer giving out keys. Since we knew that wouldn’t be enough, we also added the cameras. We’re hoping that, should the break-ins continue, we’ll see how people get in and can react to that. Secondly, maybe, just maybe, our thieves don’t want to be on camera and will just stop.

To our members and visitors: the cameras only look at our four doors, not at the inside of the space. Nobody will be able to watch you at work, but you will be recorded when you enter and leave. Two people (me and Thilo) have access to that footage, and it is automatically deleted after one week.

Every coworker, user group member, and visitor has our trust. We want to keep co.up open and safe for people to work, learn, and connect, and we will grow stronger through this. To be clear, we want this to be a temporary measure driving out the person who is taking advantage of our trust and are hoping we can take down the cameras soon. If you have any concerns or are worried about the thefts, come talk to us. A good opportunity will be co.lunch next week on Wednesday, 27.04. However, you’re very welcome just approach Aleks, Thilo or me anytime you catch us.

Thanks for standing with us.