Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vancouver Thieves

Out walking Gilbert this morning. Half dozen guys gathered in the parking lot.
"We've had thieves," one said to me.
"My cooler was stolen."
"New batteries were taken right out of the box of my truck."
"I just set down some luggage and was going back to get it. This guy was walking off with it. I called out for him to stop and got it. I was just unloading my car and this guy was taking the stuff."
I know that's normal in Vancouver. Even the head of the RCMP and the Chief of the Vancouver police are more concerned about complaints from criminals about police use of bad language than the city being safe from crime. Everyone I know tells a tale of theft and mayhem. Assaults are common too. But no one reports anything any more. Police say they aren't allowed to fight crime in Vancouver and their only job is to 'record' crime.
Two friends describe recurrent thefts to their property which resulted not in criminals being caught but in them being denied insurance.
The principal theft in the city is associated with the drug trade. A heroin addict needs roughly $300 a day for their habit not to mention the crack and other drugs. Since the exchange rate on stolen property is on 10 cents on the dollar this means that each heroin addict must steal $3000 dollars a day 356 days of the year. That translates into roughly a million dollars a n addict a year in theft.
The best treatment for individual and society is the methadone maintenance program. The best legal response is the Vancouver Drug Court. Yet the Vancouver Drug Court despite it's high success compared to traditional 'punishment' models is the least funded of services despite having the most enlightened judges and the greatest success rate addressing theft and crime.
The city collectively is losing dozens of minutes per day per citizen working because they can't even put a shopping bag down beside a cart without risk of these legions of thieves picking it up. Everyone, myself included, wastes an inordinate amount of time locking and checking and placing cameras and such to attempt to compete against the criminals whose full time occupation is to steal from the workers of the city.
Over the years there have been a variety of measures taken to address theft in communities, certainly community service and repayment of the debts to individuals and society is high on the list in communities that have gone beyond barbarism. Thousands of years past cities used 'banishment' from the city to reduce crimes of theft. Clearly I consider it a priviledge to live in Vancouver on the west coast in a kind climate compared to Yellowknife but should we not support the police and simply have those people who have had recurrent theft charges have their right to be in the city removed until their pay their debts to those they have stolen from. 
The notion of 'gated communities' has been ridiculed as a place where theives know the location but historically people had to be able to show reason to be in 'areas' of cities.  Interestingly in the 1800's in Milan Italy, the famous Gallerina Centre was developped as a 'safe shopping site'.  In the Pentagon no one enters without a pass.  Clearly some areas of the city could be considered 'theft free' and people with a history simply not allowed to enter.  Yet that brings to mind the Scarlet Letter debate as a means to identy crime and criminals.  Where does one draw the line. What does work.
The beauty of drug treatment is that a thieve who steals from innoscent people is by addressing their drug dependency taking 'action' to address their 'theiving'.
Of course not all drug dependent are theives and some theives are simply psychopaths and sociopaths. But then society has to really question it's fundamental attitudes towards multiculturalism as a leading provincial representative argues that it is 'ethnocentric' of the 'majority' population to impose it's views against theft on a 'culture' who have use thieving as their main means of survival.
First Nations people rarely speak about their historic and traditional 'punishments' for offences against the tribe. All manner of highly objectionable punishment occured within different tribal systems.  Theft between tribes was celebrated at times where as theft between individuals was as much as an offense as today.  The notion of communal ownership or the idea that we don't 'own' but 'borrow' the land still causes anger and fear in children who having 'borrowed' something take offence at someone else 'borrowing' it back. In general if a man stole the Chief's head dress for instance, there would be hell to pay. Commonly death sentences were the norm  in many of the 'cultures' that make up Canada yet in 'multicultural' Canada we reject this.  
As a Christian I noted that the first deaths in Christian history in the Christian community were recorded in Acts when a man and woman died as a consequences of stealing from the communal group.
My Christian childhood neighbourhood didn't require locks on the door and we didn't lock our bicycles and we didn't know theft. I miss that world where I wasn't constantly looking over my back worrying if I locked my computer, my car, and afraid to set down a bag beside a car for fear it will be snatched.  I miss a world in which people trusted each other and collectively no one stole and respected each other's boundaries and property.
Personally I think it's time for the Bible to returned to the classroom. If not then lets have a review of the multicultural laws regarding 'theives' and do something more 'effective' than we are. What are the new "morality and ethics' classes doing and are they as effective?  I don't believe it's at all Canadian to be a thief and it's fundamentally against Canadian Culture to Steal. Canadians believe collectively 'thou shalt not steal'.  The problem lies not with the collective culture but rather what one does to achieve this agreed principle of living.s
People are not 'stealing for food'. This is not a "Jean Val Jean" times. There is so much 'food' in the downtown eastside that people are trading the sweet stuff for drugs. Theft remained a major concern in Communist Russia and continues to be a major concern in Communist China.  The extent of theft in these anti religion secular theocracies is probably greater than in traditional non ideological societies.I don't steal because to steal would be to steal from God and hurt my very soul. The 10 commandments say 'thou shalt not steal'. That's Hebrew, Christian, and Moslem. The Buddhists and Hindus believe that a thief will come back without hands in the next life. Karma is a the consequence of theft but in the countries with the highest density of buddhists or hindus theivery is punished worse than it is in an Christian country. It appears even in countries which believe in reincarnation no one is ready to wait for the criminals to get their just desert in the next life. This is no different in Judeo Christian society where we believe that theives will burn in hell but historically were happy to chop off their hands, burn them in oil or send them to Australia before God got his licks in . First Nations killed theives just as most pagan cultures. Indeed Christians and Jews collectively in the world have the greatest history of mercy despite their otherwise tough approach to sin.
Dr. Johnson was paraphrased by Bob Dylan in that great philosophical theological treatise "I and I',  "steal a little and they put you in jail, steal alot and they make you king".  Theft then has been a matter of the most powerful nations taking from less powerful nations but within these nations at the neighbourly level there is still the sanctions surrounding theft. It might be alright for the King, Queen or Commissar to steal since as in  "Animal Farm" some animals are more 'equal' than others.
Faced with the theives in Vancouver I really do wonder how people are raising their children. Historically in many cultures in the east the parents and family are held accountable for the thefts of children with the consequence that the community approach to crime is found most effective.   This proved a highly effective collective strategy which might well be considered in our individualist culture.
Possibly if we got it together to address theft at the parking lot and back yard and office level then we'd really be in a place to be righteously indignant about CEO's and Banksters stealing massive amounts of pensioner funds and the bottles out of the babies of the nations mouths.
Personally in Vancouver I've had my houses broken into despite cameras and locks, my cars and trucks broken into repeatedly, (car insurance never has paid for the loss or more importantly the cost in time dealing with broken glass and such) ,  my boat broken into, an office staff who turned out to be a psychopath lying and stealing but actually admitting her theft to the police without any consequence to her, ultimately costing me $50,000 because of corruption in the system,  despite her chronic history of theft and deceit and my being 'targetted' by her,  several computers have over the years been  stolen from work, though thankfully no confidential data loss. Still  I fear putting through insurance claims though I've had hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen in my life time and pay roughly tens of thousands of dollars insurance a year. What a waste of a life!!!! Why should any one get a job and build and create if theives can come and take without consequence?  That's what I 'feel' some days and 'emotional reasoning' dictates. Yet when I talk to friends and neighbours they describe similiarly horrific experiences yet continue to muddle on. The power of good people to persist with so little support from the authorities and so many psychopaths and sociopaths parasitizing them remains utterly astonishing. I learn from construction company executives that they have horrendous losses from theft but just "soldier on".  Society grows and people generally prosper. Our lives are longer and never before in time were as many as rich as they are today. 
Several gang members who I've known over the years in work or riding my Harley have told me that just as there are private schools and a private postal system and Canadians cross the border for private health care in the US (our longstanding 2 tier medical system) there has always been an alternative 'police' system provided by 'private' services. I've spoken with many people from ethnic communities who have no faith in the Canadian 'services' and they admit that they aren't concerned about the RCMP or Vancouver Police because some member is caught on video kicking someone.
They just don't think the Canadian police will get their stuff returned or do anything but "record" crime. Japanese society and America in the times of the Kennedy's certainly had an 'arrangement' with the so called 'criminal forces' of the world and times.  Given the example of the Rolling Stones concert with 'private' security services that became more dangerous than the crowds needing 'security' control ultimately ruined what could have been a truly great concert.  Sadly there are simply too many people who feel entitled to what Mick Jagger has without realizing the tremendous work he does.
 It does appear that there is a vacuum of law enforcement regarding 'theft'.  Theft is now considered a 'virtue' by the kids raised in schools without Bibles in court rooms without Bibles in a world where work is for suckers and theft is what the smart one do.  But Plato and Socrates didn't condone theft any more than Moses or God.  So all societies have to judge themselves on how well they protect those who create.
It's hard to start the day and go to work when my neighbours are collectively standing about in a parking lot 'frustrated'. I see the leading news story by the head of the RCMP is that the 'culture' of the policing must change. I know I'm old fashioned but I'm of the belief generally that the police and citizens are frustrated because the countries leadership is living on a different planet and watching too much You Tube and not hearing the frustration people have who are doing everything to work and pay taxes but are routinely having stuff stolen. Break and entries, cars, purses, and offices theived. Why should anyone go to work in Vancouver when theft is so much easier and clearly in Vancouver has little consequences.  Crime pays and the police, if not their politically correct  leadership  would truly like to do something about it.  In these economically difficult times can we really afford to put political correctness over protection of person and property.

British Columbia has the greatest property crime in Canada second only to the N.W.T.   Some 5,600 property crimes per 100,000.  This doesn't even touch the full extent of crime as so little of the total is reported.  What's most infuriating as a tax payer is that when ever I am robbed I am invariably 'blamed' for it as if the beaurocrats and insurance people and indeed the police themselves aren't all in this same mess together with me. I feel like Job talking to these morons whenever I've been violated and something has been stolen knowing full well that they cannot be immune from theft as I despite my best efforts have experienced it repeatedly in this city where property crime is literally ubiquitous.  
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