An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
DID YOU HEAR THE ONE about the guy who walks into a store, smashes a glass case and runs away with $20,000 worth of jewelry?
And did you see the surveillance photo of him as he made good his escape? Did you immediately identify him as your cousin the jewel thief, or did it look more like something out of Ghost Busters?
That photo would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
I don’t want to make light of this incident because it’s obviously a big loss to the store. But really, when are merchants going to wake up to the need to do something about their security?
Did whoever ordered up this particular camera at Aberdeen Mall say, “True, the pictures it takes are useless but having a camera will make us feel better?”
Does a thief ever wake up in the morning and say, “This is a great day to rob a store but I better not because the surveillance camera might take a totally unrecognizable picture of me?”
You can buy a surveillance camera for a couple of hundred bucks and get exactly what you pay for. Or, you can spend more and get a commercial-grade system that will work in all kinds of lighting conditions and provide high-definition images even at long range.
These systems do everything but cook your breakfast.
Maybe merchants should be required to install good video surveillance as a part of their business licences. Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory because motor vehicle accidents are a huge expense to our healthcare system; this isn’t much different.
Effective camera surveillance would do much to deter theft, make it easier for police to catch the bad guys, and probably reduce the cost of insurance.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.