Ideas on how to defeat porch pirates welcome

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 27, 2017 - 5:08am Updated: December 27, 2017 - 11:23am

KAMLOOPS — There’s a new kind of crook on the streets. Not violent necessarily, but dangerous nonetheless. It’s the kind who has no conscience, no compassion, no decency and no guts.

These are stealth crooks, glorified pickpockets, who take from others when we aren’t looking. They’re creeps.

They began by ripping off all the bronze plaques from public art installations and memorials at Riverside Park and elsewhere around Kamloops.

Christmas is a time when such criminals go into high gear, stealing displays from people’s front yards, though it must take an especially resourceful brand of felon to find anyone to sell them to.

And, of course, they’re always on the lookout for unlocked cars.

And now, we have the porch pirate. This miscreant looks for doorsteps to which packages have been delivered. If it’s clear nobody’s home, he or she sneaks up to the front door and makes off with the package.

It became epidemic across the continent during this almost completed holiday season — television news frequently showing surveillance video of it happening.

What to do about it? One man from the U.S. invented a dummy package that fires a 12-gauge shotgun blank when it’s lifted up, scaring the pants off the thief. There are questions about its legality, but not about a tactic adopted by another homeowner — filling boxes with poo.

Such defenses are mere whistling in the wind of this new kind of lawlessness, where neighbours steal from neighbours. The end of the festive season and the start of a new year won’t provide any relief.

In the Internet universe, in an age of Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays where people shun stores and buy everything online, doorstep delivery is becoming the norm. StatsCan numbers show 84 per cent of Canadian consumers have purchased goods online in the past year.

So the problem will only get bigger. Honest people have to be more resourceful than the crooks. If you’ve got any legal ideas on how to beat the criminals, please share — the rest of us would like to know.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.