Get-A-Way Bus: The Surrey Express.

Crime is a five letter word that everyone has an opinion on, and that few could fully understand.  For the last while I have being able to observe some of these people who are part of this marginal group in this subculture, the ones who seem to be from all walks of life and claim to fill many facets of the criminal world.  Actually it is easy here in the Lower Mainland because all you need to do is ride the transit system to meet some of them. I never engage directly with them, but I sit and listen. The best place to be on the bus is in the mid section, and I usually read a book while the passengers talk amongst themselves so not to interact. It’s safer that way.

Girl crimes have always fascinated me because the female crime rate is one of the fastest growing demographics in certain offences today; so taking a keen interest means that any opportunity in hearing what these people say is a golden opportunity.  The transit system is the perfect environment because you are stationary, seated, yet mobile at the same time, and presumably everyone around you is a stranger. So people tend to speak more freely then they would while standing at the bus stop. Another added bonus is the cell phone because this usually seems to be the triger to stir up these sorts of conversations and express raw attitude.

A group of four young women got onto the bus. They all marched towards the back seats where they could sit facing each other with their backs against the windows. This particular bus had a raised rear section and the seats were parallel to the windows as opposed to being in rows like up in the front section. They started talking once the bus started to move.

As they were talking, one of them answered her cell phone. This young woman started yelling into it saying, “you creep—you F—ing creep, you are dead. I will mess your name so bad….” then she flicked the phone and put it into her purse.

The conversation and tone changed instantly between them and one of them said, “I am seriously going to mess her up! She is going to pay tonight when I go over there.”

So, listening to them for a few minutes I figured out that one them had been told in that phone call that she was “ratted out” to the police for shoplifting, and this confession came from one of her co-offenders who had being apprehended by the police moments before. Obviously the interrogation worked if the police allowed it to be known. It had also being made clear that the bus was the get-a-way vehicle, and that the crime was only minutes old.

Sadly, shoplifting is one of those crimes that goes unpunished unless the retail outlet can either apprehend, or successfully identify who the offender is. Most shoplifters get away and will probably reoffend several times until they are caught again, and even then the punishment is very minor. For these young women, punishment was the least of their worries, it appeared to be the honour that was at stake.

They were loud and seemed not to have any worries about their situation among the other passengers. And as good people, the passengers reciprocated the gesture by looking the other way and ignoring this performance in turn.

One of the women decided that they should get off at a particular stop and double back to Surrey so that they could find their “friend” and make good on their promise.

When the bus stopped along 56 Avenue, the four women got out. I looked back as the bus pulled away, and to my surprise I noticed a police car pulling up towards them and then stopped. One of them turned and started walking in the opposite direction while the other three stood still. Two female mounties got out of the car, and one of them quickly ran over towards the women who was walking away. Without incident all six women walked back to the police car, and that was when I lost sight of them as the bus continued on its route.

Perhaps what is interesting was that I would have never pegged the four young women as criminals on the lamb. Their clothes, demeanour and accessories would have fooled me because they dressed, acted and mimiced the way college students would. This is probably the stereotype that I form, the bias that I have when fitting a face to a crime. This is just one example of just how complex society is today.

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