A Mini Crime Wave, or is it Just the Background Noise of a Growing Society: Fort Langley on Video.

Last year the local market had them installed, the Bank had them since I could remember, and I even have one: closed circuit video are everywhere, and more are to come. The local market, also know at the IGA, had them installed just last year after experiencing a record breaking year of theft. It was so bad there that the owner was almost looking at taking drastic measures to curve the financial loss it was incurring on his business. Once the video system was installed, they were able to use the images to show police who was steeling when they fled the store. For me, I had my vehicle broken into three years ago and I had to do something about it. My landlord was unable to offer any solutions, and they certainly did not want to install my camera, but after checking with law enforcement and legal experts, I was able to go ahead with the installation without my landlord’s approval. The camera has stayed ever since, even with many threats of legal sanctions, and a visit boys from the Township By-law office by them, my trusty little camera keeps a vigil eye on my vehicle. Oddly enough my vehicle has not being touched ever since?

Those same people who do not like me having a camera facing my vehicle, just had their “cash to change” vending machine broken into this last week in their laundromat. Guess what, they are now in the process of install the camera in their laundromat facing the vending machine! The thieves attempted to smash into the machine using some crude tools, and they gained access into the build by a flimsy window. Although they did not get any of the money inside the machine, they made a mess of the place.

But there are other lessons to be learned from the IGA and Laundromat experience. These buildings are prone to darkness and hidden sections when closed after business hours, ideal for thieves to lurk around. Environmental elements can be employed to lower the likelihood of thieves looking for “hiding” places like lighting and bars on the windows. A theory that says that thieves only like easy targets means that you must make it as difficult as possible for the theft to be not worth while and uninviting. Where I live, lighting is a big problem, that is, there is not enough of it. In fact, when thieves travel, our section of town seems to be where they prefer to move through becuase of the darkness. On several occasions now I have being awaken by police banging on my door asking me if I heard anyone running through my back yard. “Not since I fell asleep four hours ago,” I tell them.

I wonder if there is a correlation between the economic downturn and the growing population in our little village? Probably not.

I know that if you don’t nail it down, light it up, put a camera on it, alarm it, you are going to loose it. Thieves will “scope it out” and when they find something easy to take, they will waste no time to do it. Opportunity is something that thieves will take on in a moments notice. Timing is everything becuase it may not be there the next day.

So smile–you are on TV. I see cameras going up everywhere in Fort Langley.  But I should caution you if you are deciding to put up a camera in your neighbourhood for yourself. Check the law, rules and local by-laws. You have to post signage that you have a video surveillance system in operation, and you can’t capture audio while your camera is on. And obviously, you can’t aim it at your next door neighbour’s house, or through other people’s windows, only on your property.

Hey, video is changing the way our society looks at itself, and it seems to be crime driven. I can see all of us soon living in a gated community with cameras everywhere, check-points and ID checks leaving to and from our towns. Heck, all it would take is one good terrorist attack in the area to put all of us on high alert and straight in to paranoia. We may see cameras as intrusive now, but after an attack, we may all want one. Too bad though, I really like Fort Langley, and the small town atmosphere it has. I guess that is all changing as the population grows.

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