A guide to putting Toulouse’s cameras into early retirement.
This guide only deals with methods of destroying camera cabling. To destroy the camera itself you have to knock down the mast or climb to the top to break the camera, this requires heavy and cumbersome equipment (disk cutter, ladder …) and is therefore another story.
1 – Scouting
Movement of people and vehicles, cameras (public or private) with a view of the targeted camera, nearby cops/vigilantes/etc.
What the camera is attached to:
On a wall, on a mast, the type of mast (old style light grey or dark grey and smooth for the new ones).
Cabling outside the mast, protected by a simple sheath (flexible or rigid), cabling inside the mast.
The fixing of the trap door (in the case of wiring inside the mast):
Allen type screws, triangle type screws, hatch doubled (or not) by metal clamps.
2 – Preparation
Ideally, don’t take the same route on the way there and on the way back, plan routes that avoid as many cameras as possible (especially on the way back) thanks to the website toulouse sous surveillance (https://toulouse.sous-surveillance.net/), depending on the number of people present for the action and the layout of the place, plan small roadblocks to slow down the cops.
Be careful, scouting on the internet is good, scouting in real life is better. Google street photos are often several years old, and on the website toulouse sous surveillance some cameras may be missing.
For the action, wear gloves, something to mask your face (but really well because their cameras are full HD), disposable clothes (black and without distinctive markings). Then “normal” clothes under the disposables, and discreet shoes (important because it’s not practical to change them).
NO MOBILE PHONES. Or at the very least turn them off, but several kilometres before arriving at the site because downtown there are telephone antennas everywhere, you can see them here (https://www.antennesmobiles.fr/).
The equipment :
A – Camera fixed to a wall:
Cameras fixed to a wall will almost always use external cabling protected by a rigid sheath. It is possible to lift the sheath but it takes time, the quickest way is to have a friend who uses a short ladder because the sheath often stops after 2.5 meters of height, leaving the cable without protection.
B – Camera fixed on a modern dark grey mast:
male allen key or male triangle key (7mm allen and 11mm triangle but it can change)
cutting pliers (if metal clamps are present)
fuel (gasoline, de-aromatized petrol, or lighter fluid such as zippo)
On these cameras, except in exceptional cases, the wiring always goes inside the mast. To access it, there is a trap door at the bottom, afixed by two screws (allen or triangle) that you just have to unscrew. There are sometimes two metal clamps which double the protection, and they must be cut before or after removing the screws. Once the hatch is open, the wiring is protected by a kind of hard plastic plate. From this point on, there are two possibilities:
Remove the protective plate and cut the cables with pliers one by one. This is a bit slow.
Put a cloth soaked in fuel in the hatch and light it. This is much faster.
C- Camera fixed on an old light grey mast:
It depends, it can involve external wiring (method A) or internal (method B, except that the plastic protection plate is often missing).
3 – Execution
Here, it’s a bit complicated to be exhaustive, and we don’t want to go into too much detail, but we can still make some recommendations:
In any case, the cops will notice you and they will send the cavalry very quickly, so the idea is to be as quick as possible, but also to make sure they take as much time as possible to understand what’s going on (use your imagination).
You can’t foresee the unexpected, but you can prepare for it, and for that it’s always better to be too prepared than not enough.
It’s important to have a good distribution and definition of roles, from the beginning to the end.
In the case of a dark grey mast with a trap door, you can practice opening it on a lamp post (out of sight) because it’s exactly the same masts and trap doors as for the cameras, it may seem superfluous but it will save you time struggling to open it on the big day.
It’s not superfluous to do a sort of dress rehearsal either.
Finally, don’t forget that the cameras have a battery and continue to record even if all the cables are cut, for about 30 minutes.
And even if it was not the subject of the guide, we leave you with this video which we find beautiful and encouraging. Long live direct action.