North Door 37 Publishing

EARLIER I had written about a BBC report  ("Policing report: Victims' asked to investigate crime themselves'." September 4, 2014) that UK police no longer want to be called on to deal with common crimes such as car theft and stolen property.  Rather, the onus for finding the items was now being returned to the owner/complainant with the Bizarro-world mentality that we are now all responsible for how a criminal behaves.

Let's give that theory a spin and see if it works for you. Ready? Here we go. You park on the street and someone steals all your tyres, and paints your car in graffiti. Are you the victim or the one responsible for this happening? Police answer: you are the one responsible, because you parked there, didn't you? You leave things in your car, locked, and a criminal breaks the glass to get the items. Who is responsible? You know you are, right? Because you left the things in the car to tempt the thieves.

Case Two, a reported true story, now from Canada: a young woman has her $2000 Mac Pro and credit cards stolen. The police are called but they do not want to go to the scene of the 'crime' (obviously no-one has died) or take a statement... until, that is, the woman's Mother kicks up a stink. The police tell the young woman to check into the problem herself. The young woman is contacted by the people who stole her items (Apple, by this stage, has locked the computer) and tell her she can have her computer back for $80. The police are called once again and their response is this: the young woman should pay the $80. And just so the police can say the paperwork on this case has been done, the young woman was told to email a statement/report.

Case Three is provided in detail in the CBC news report entitled: "Craiglist luxury rental scam victims stage citizen's arrest in Vancouver". 
Here is a short summary: three would-be renters were looking for accommodations they could share in Vancouver. They decided to splurge on a luxury rental and having seen the apartment, paid first and last months rent, plus the security deposit requested, for a total of $8,250. When they contacted the concierge to arrange their move-in date they were advised by this non-plussed individual that the apartment was on the market 'for sale' but not as a rental.

You might say their goose was cooked, except, rather than take this whole matter lying down, they contacted a representative of the 'rental company' and said they needed access to the apartment to take measurements. He obliged, and once inside, the trio attempted a citizen's arrest of a sorts. You can see the video for yourself in the CBC link above.

What is not on the video is the police's response: "[Linda] Tran says the police gave the three vigilantes a lecture about their actions, and told them they were lucky not to be charged with unlawful confinement." (Natalie Clancy, CBC, January 22, 2015)

This, after the police have been handed an actual criminal.

And just so we are clear, the individual that Tran and her friends videotaped is identified as the same person who bilked two other injured parties out of $26,000, each, in the same week, for a $3,000,000 property. In other words, Tran and her friends had actually provided the police not only evidence, but an associate, to a sophisticated criminal ring. But the police, according to Tran, want only one thing from and her room-mates: "email statements" of the event.

I can't see insurance paying for the burn of this crime but, of course, if enough of these crimes take place ~ some foolhardy individual might add it as a feature of a renter's policy. In the meanwhile, we must now ask these hard questions: should police work be confined to murders alone and, in our case, road stops to check for potential drunk drivers; should we look at those who rob from the rich as Robin Hoods who are giving to the deserving poor ~ namely, themselves?  What say you?

Originally posted on Facebook

Written by H B — January 25, 2015

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