Ward Yeager talks to the media about the return of Baby Bear. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Justice sought against thieves

Many solutions proposed, but practical applications must prevail

The Baby Bear statue thief and gas tank driller seems to have ignited quite a firestorm about crime in the community.

Opinions vary significantly on what to do about the situation that clearly has residents in Chemainus and Crofton running the gamut of emotions from angry to frustrated and everything else in between.

Some are advocating for vigilantism. Some want a meeting with police. Some want to step up the Neighbourhood Watch components. Some want to take increased measures with more cameras to catch culprits in the act.

The vigilante aspect is entering dangerous territory. We don’t want innocent people victimized by crimes going to jail.

We can’t start sweeping the streets looking for shady characters and then going after them. It’s better to report all incidents to the police regardless of what you think of response times and coverage in this area and then let matters take their course.

As far as a meeting with police goes, there was one in February of 2018 at the Chemainus Legion Hall with all the top Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP brass, including Insp. Chris Bear and Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, in attendance and guess what? Hardly anyone turned out, probably less than 25 people for a well-publicized event.

We still had crime issues then, but not enough to get people off the couch to voice their concerns. A meeting now might generate more of a response, but maybe not.

The Neighbourhood Watch aspect and similar ventures have long been discussed and people continually question their effectiveness. We should all be watching out for each other in this day and age anyway.

The police presence isn’t going to change anytime soon with more officers not exactly high on the budget priority list so maybe the latter option of increasing video surveillance makes the most sense.

The police have been reluctant in the past to use public videos because it might compromise their investigations unless thieves are caught in the act. But the power of public involvement and quality video in the Baby Bear statue case shows that may be the way to go until some serious changes can be made to the justice system, with offenders being let free far too soon.

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