Mark Arike: Time for town surveillance
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | July 12 2018|
Haliburton County is quite a peaceful place. Unlike densely-populated cities, where shootings, home invasions and other violent crimes are a weekly occurrence, we’ve got it pretty good.
But every once in awhile, we report on something that reminds us our quaint county isn’t immune to reprehensible acts. Last week’s break-in at Haliburton’s Lily Ann Thrift Store is a perfect example. Although no one was hurt and nothing valuable was stolen (it’s a thrift store, after all), the troubling part was what the suspect(s) did while inside. They urinated and bled on clothes, leaving volunteers no option but to throw the donated items out. They also smashed a window at the rear of the building and left several items on the ground. All they made away with was some second-hand jewelry.
There was also a break-in at The Dock Spot in Tory Hill. The unknown criminal(s) got into a trailer and stole a large amount of cash, according to police. We don’t know if the crimes are connected. And, at the end of May, a significant break-in and theft occurred at The Source on Haliburton’s main drag in the wee hours of the night. More than $10,000 in merchandise and cash was stolen. Even some Rotary car draw tickets were pilfered.
At the time, Source owner Don van Nood said he’d like to see more cameras installed in the village. He thought it could be a joint project between the municipality and Downtown Haliburton BIA.
It’s a great suggestion and one that needs to be researched. Although some businesses like van Nood’s have one camera on-site, it usually isn’t enough to capture a good image of the perpetrators. Cameras along the main street—like closed-circuit television (CCTV) in other parts of the world—would certainly give investigators more to work with. And, just as important, it could act as a deterrent.
A 2013 review by the College of Policing in the UK revealed that CCTV is “effective at reducing theft of and from vehicles.” It found there was a small reduction in crime in city and town centres, “but one that was insufficiently clear to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of CCTV.”
BIA president Luke Schell told The Highlander the organization’s board members discussed cameras a few years ago. But due to concerns about the cost, technical requirements and the possibility of footage being subpoenaed, they didn’t look into it further.
Well, now’s the time to bring it back to the table. Find out what it will cost with today’s technology, look into privacy laws and approach the municipality to see if they’d get behind it. Some people may feel uneasy about 24-hour surveillance, but it’s time to look out for the businesses and charities that have heavily invested in making this community a better place. I’m sure it would give shopkeepers and the 4Cs volunteers some peace of mind.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.