Pubdate: Sat, 05 June 1999
Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 1999
Author: Doug Cright


The ultimate fate of surveillance cameras in the Downtown Eastside will be
the pawn shops.

The tapes of thieves removing the devices and other grainy, black and white
videotaped crime could then be sold to TV police programs. The proceeds
could then fund more rehabilitation centres and put more police officers on
the street.

The police don't respond in time to the calls they get now, so how are
surveillance cameras supposed to change that?

My neighbour's house was broken into last year. His tenant called police
while the crime was in progress, not once but twice.

They showed up the next day.

I don't recall any civil unrest or natural disaster that evening that would
have occupied a majority of our police force.

I was at a Grizzlies' game and so was the police pipe band, regaling the
crowd at halftime with catchy tunes and dazzling marching, all the while
keeping centre court free of Honduran drug dealers and hemp shop owners.

One recent afternoon, while my brother played hockey at Eight Rinks, his
truck was burglarized and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment taken.
The whole incident was witnessed and reported immediately to police.

About a half hour later they arrived, the criminal long gone. The witness
provided a good description of the crook as well as make, model and plate
number of his van. A quick check revealed a man with a lengthy record
including rape, assault and firearms offences.

The officer wrote down this guy's name and address and gave it to my
brother, telling him to handle it as it was a matter of low priority.

So there you have it, folks, our understaffed, underfunded and grossly
misdirected police force condones vigilante justice.

Next time don't call them: Call the villagers, grab a torch and pitchfork
and take care of things the old-fashioned way.

Doug Cright, Vancouver

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