EDITORIAL – New strategies needed to combat rising rural property crime

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I WAS SADDENED by the news story about rising property crime in Barnhartvale. I lived in both rural and what could be called suburban Barnhartvale for more than 20 years and I have a soft spot in my heart for it.

Back then, it was one of those places where people didn’t feel it necessary to lock their doors at night or when they were away from home, and you never heard of anything being stolen.

That’s obviously changed and it’s a shame when people no longer feel safe but Barnhartvale isn’t the only bedroom community facing dramatic increases in crime.

Look at cluster communities all around the region and it’s the same thing. Community Facebook pages are alive with reports of stolen property — anything that isn’t tied down including cars and trucks.

The experts tell us that rural and suburban areas have become importers of crime from adjacent urban centres.

It’s the spillover effect. As criminal activity in cities becomes more competitive, the crooks go looking for new opportunities. The Barnhartvales of the world are perfect targets — quiet, unsuspecting, lots of tempting stuff left in carports and yards.

Things like lawnmowers, power tools, equipment and bicycles, all available. And that’s just outside. And in more rural areas, there’s not likely to be any watchful neighbours close enough to keep an eye on suspicious activity.

So what to do about it? Police offer the usual advice — keep everything under lock and key and keep an eye out. But that’s not enough.

Earlier this year, the Alberta government announced $10 million in funding to hire more RCMP in rural areas and to set up district-level crime reduction units. Police say it’s working, with rural property crime down 11 per cent in just six months.

It’s time for the City’s police committee to get serious about rural property crime, and look at a co-ordinated and concentrated strategy to deal with it, and demand action from Victoria.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6691 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – New strategies needed to combat rising rural property crime

  1. The bad guys run free and we’re under lock and key. If you catch one of these and do a little damage then you’re an even badder guy.They never should have closed the prison farm..

  2. The opportunistic bastards stealing from good folks and the opportunistic bastards buying stuff stolen from good folks…a symbiotic relationship? But private security cameras throughout a neighbourhood may be an answer. And set-up a work redemption program for the ones caught stealing/buying stolen stuff.

  3. Hi Mel, Our home in Barnhartvale has been targetted by petty theives and vandals since 2006. I made police reports but was always told that unless I caught them in the act there was nothing the police could do. I have given up on putting a lock on my shed as these thieves have ripped the hasp out of the wall when they couldn’t open the padlock. In the process of trying to get into our shed they also ripped the centre beam at the front of our shed. Many of the items stolen from us are everyday items like shovels, totes, food from our laundry room, our children’s pool passes, keepsakes from my deceased parents, bikes, etc.. Our children find food wrappers in their playhouse and people have been using their covered sandbox as a toilet. A man was spotted in our backyard at 4 in the morning by our neighbours one morning this summer but they didn’t report it to the police. I am pretty sure the theives and vandals that have been plaguing us grew up in our area. I think this started when they were teens and now they are young adults. There are parents up here who have the attitude that kids will be kids and there are no consequences for the bad behavior of their teens.

  4. Good point there! Buy a security system that records all the activity on a PVR and stores it for 6 months. They are wireless too. I live in North Kamloops, but I don’t trust anyone. I hv everything chained up and security lights!

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