BURNILEAKS: Sexual Assaults, Missing Kids and Violent Crime

Something that BMorg are always attempting to hush up are the details of the annual arrests. It used to be reported every year in the Reno Gazette-Journal, but since they appointed dedicated Burning Man beat reporter Jenny Kane that type of coverage has stopped. We have to try to piece the information together however we can.

I filed a FOIA request in January to get the 2017 arrest data from the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, but so far they haven’t even acknowledged it. Thanks very much to our source DS who sent us the 2015, 2016, and some 2017 information below. The information we received includes the names of all people arrested in 2015 and 2017 and what they were charged with, compiled from the local paper. Don’t panic! We won’t be publishing the names. We hope to get more 2017 information soon.

The official reports confirm a shockingly large number of sexual assaults – 15 in 2015, 11 in 2016 – and way more missing children than were previously reported. The rapes, not prosecuted; the children (thankfully) all found. No wonder BMorg wanted this hushed up. Sexual offenders who fail to register are a recurring problem. Kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, jailbreaks, and celebrities with armed bodyguards are all issues at Black Rock City. Don’t think that just because you’re “home”, that means you are safe – and don’t think for a moment that having a rule “no guns” means there are no guns there.

In fact, the Sheriff specifically states that he does not believe he can provide for the safety of Burners.

hot girl back

Image: Steemkr


BMorg vs PCSO

This has been an ongoing battle for many years. The cops think they should get more money as the festival gets bigger and goes for longer, BMorg thinks they should keep all the money for themselves to give to artists and make the world a better place. BMorg has big lawyers and political clout, they tell the Sheriff where to stick it, so to meet the budget required the Sheriff’s Office feels compelled to arrest and cite more Burners – to make their side of the argument stronger. “Look at all these criminals, our budget’s not big enough!”. Burners who pay $500-$1200 a ticket are thus used as pawns in an argument that people with $40 million per year of ticket money are having with local officials over 50 grand.

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Pershing County normally has a population of approximately 6,800 people within the County.  This population includes approximately 1,600 inmates incarcerated at the [gated community of the] Lovelock Correctional Center.  For this population, the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office has 13 full time Sworn Law Enforcement Deputies, including the Sheriff, to perform all of the duties statutorily mandated for the Sheriff’s Office.  This equates to approximately 1 Deputy for every 400 persons permanently residing in Pershing County, minus those incarcerated. 

During the approximate 10-12 days of the active portion of the Burning Man Festival, the population of just the Festival balloons to upwards of 80,000+ persons.  Still with only the 13 Sworn Full-Time Deputies within the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office.  Based on this population, it would appear the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office would need to have approximately 200 Deputies to provide similar staffing for the visitors to the Burning Man Festival. However, Burning Man provides approximately 800+ ‘Black Rock Rangers’.  These employees of Burning Man are mostly made up of volunteers, some of whom have very limited training, to interact with the population and attempt to mitigate issues before they rise to the level of a Law Enforcement Response.  Some of the Rangers are trained enough to provide a force multiplication, to a limited extent, for Law Enforcement. 


The Problem, In a Few Charts

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2015 Report – Highlights

  • 1 death before the event
  • 15 sexual assaults reported
  • sex offender failed to register
  • 6 children went missing – all found
  • incident with nude man and his nude 4 year old child at adult event
  • 1 arrest for kidnapping
  • celebrities bringing armed bodyguards
  • an inmate tried to escape from the temporary jail
  • event ran for 9 days, previous discussions were around 7
  • big load on Sheriff’s office while construction/tear down happening
  • year end load processing all criminal cases, court dates etc
  • “the comradery [sic] which was built during this event will extend through the state” – from cops, Feds, agencies working together
  • integration with Humboldt Medical Team, who were kicked out for CrowdRX

 

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You are more likely to get a citation from the BLM than the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office. The cops issued 143 citations and 175 verbal warnings. That makes 677 citations total for 2015, plus 43 arrests

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2015 Sheriff’s Report:

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2016 Sheriff’s Report – Highlights

The Sheriff actually says that after consulting with “entities” about Burning Man’s ability to deal with a critical incident like a mass casualty event, the results were “extremely dismal” and that he cannot in good conscience provide adequate safety to citizens attending the event.

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9 people including Burning Man organization employees were arrested on the site before the event began, charged with “possessing trafficking levels of narcotics”

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Other highlights

  • 46 arrrests (43 in 2015)
  • 152 citations (+326 BLM, total 478)
  • sex offenders failing to register
  • 11 sexual assaults reported
    • 1 arrest on playa
    • 2 reports after the festival, after victim returned to Reno and went to hospital for treatment – started by Reno PD
  • several reports of missing or lost children – not just the single Amber Alert we were told about, that closed exodus for 8 hours

2016 Sheriff’s Report

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2016 Burning Man Response

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Harm Reduction: Handy Guide

Tripsit.Me has put together this guide to drug combinations. Red means “not a good idea to mix them”. Note we do not endorse any illegal narcotics and this is not medical advice.

http://wiki.tripsit.me/wiki/Drug_combinations

Image: TripSit.Me

Image: TripSit.Me

Easy Way To Get Tickets

Panicking because you missed out on STEP and OMG? Keen to go and check out the debut of the new, ultra-loud Dance Music Zone? Looking to hear the crackling of the flames at the Man base without pesky DJs trying to gift you tracks? All those and more could be yours…if only you had a ticket.

Well, Burners, it’s not hard. In fact it’s pretty easy.

Go to http://stubhub.com and type “Burning Man” in the search.

As I write this there are 434 tickets for sale (from $999), and 157 vehicle passes (from $333).

The Burnier-Than-Thous, of course, will tell you that you can’t do this. It’s against the unwritten rules! It’s Un-Burnery. Real Burners would rather not go to Burning Man, than pay $900 for an $800 ticket.

Hey, if you want to be one of those, then by all means go for it. Have fun being a Burner who never goes to Burning Man any more, it’s a fast growing group.

For any other Burner who wants to go to Burning Man, my advice is just go. Buy one of the hundreds of tickets still left on sale. You’re not paying that much more above face value, now that BMOrg have conveniently set face value at $819 plus a vehicle pass, bus ticket, or airport entry tax.

What of the argument that paying more for tickets fuels scalpers?

We have covered this time and time again. First of all, scalpers aren’t even a significant problem. That’s not just Burners.Me telling you that, it’s Larry Harvey:

Source: Larry Harvey, Voices of Burning Man, December 2012

Source: Larry Harvey, Voices of Burning Man, December 2012

I have kept an eye on the ticket prices on Stubhub during the year. After the OMG sale, the number of passes and tickets available went up, and so did the prices. Vehicle passes briefly hit a peak of $520, but have now started to plummet.

Screenshot 2015-08-10 11.31.39

If scalpers DID get some of those OMG tickets, then if you buy them, you are ensuring that a real Burner goes, instead of some safari tourist bucket-lister Broner schmuck.

Otherwise, the increase in tickets available for sale must only be from Burners finding out at the last minute they can’t go. STEP is closed, so how else are they supposed to sell their tickets? Especially if they live a long way from Black Rock City. These Burners need our support, and it’s our duty to help ensure those tickets go to other good Burners. Buy their ticket, help yourself, help a Burner.

And what about the rules? Well, statements from BMOrg over the last 12 months seem to show that they’ve significantly softened their tone about the secondary market. Even they realize that it’s basically the only way that most Burners can ensure they get tickets.

Screenshot 2015-08-10 11.51.09

Source: Voices of Burning Man, Feb 2015

They’ve gone from “it’s against our community’s ethos so don’t do it”, to “it’s the reality of supply and demand and technically legal and many do it and we’re certain it’s not scalpers“. How can they be so certain? Perhaps they have some inkling of who is actually selling these tickets. To the rest of us, the whole ticketing and queueing system is a mysterious black box.

From the Jackrabbit Speaks:

  • For 2014, the total allotment was 35,000 vehicle passes. We never sold out. Just over 34,000 were purchased in all of our sales combined. Just before the event there were lots of passes on the secondary market, and in the end, only about 27,000 vehicle passes were actually used.
  • Since Black Rock City will be roughly the same size in 2015 as it was in 2014, this year we’re limiting the total allotment to 27,000

Following the “reality of supply and demand”, releasing fewer Vehicle Passes for 2015 has naturally led to vehicle passes being much higher on the secondary market all year.

I predict the Early Bird sale sells out quickly next year, and I’m sure cracking the 1 G mark has crossed the minds of the non-profit ticket pricers.

As the above graph shows, thanks to StubHub there have been hundreds of tickets available all year long. There are other sites too.

eBay has plenty of tickets and vehicle passes. Tickets seem to be around $600-$800 and vehicle passes are in the $250-$450 range.

Vivid Seats have tickets from $892 and vehicle passes from $338. Tickpick have tickets from $899 and vehicle passes from $344.

Please note: there are plenty of Burnier-Than-Thou narcs out there trying to tell on ticket sellers to BMOrg. Why they do this is beyond me, but Burners.Me is not responsible for anybody scamming anybody else in ticket sales. Caveat emptor, and caveat venditor too.

Someone is making a lot of money from these sales on the secondary market. But is it professional scalping crews, gaming the system? Burning Man are certain that it isn’t. How can they be so sure? Is there some way that insiders can get their hands on more than 1 ticket? Volunteers, staffers, Directed Group Sale beneificiaries? They get to keep a ticket for themselves, and sell one to pay for their trip…if someone had 4 tickets and vehicle passes, they could clear more than $5000.

The two tier price structure of $800 and $400 for the same ticket seems tailor made to boost prices on the secondary market. The staggered timing of the ticket releases also seems geared to fuel it. And watching what BMOrg have done over the years since they introduced the ticket lottery, every single move seems to have had the effect of bumping secondary market prices higher for longer. This is one area where BMOrg seems to really have excelled in the effectiveness of their decision making.

At any time, to really stop scalping, they could just link tickets to IDs. Of course, that would completely destroy the model I just outlined. It would be great for Burners, but much harder for anyone who got tickets via one of the various internal handouts to make money on the side. So we’re told we can’t have it, and some weak excuse is made up for why. Actions speak louder than words, in this case the actions seem to be about secondary market prices. We haven’t seen any evidence of money from the Vehicle Pass sales going to improve road safety, but they certainly have been a re-seller’s wet dream, fetching up to 1000% returns.