GOING ON FOUR YEARS after shopping carts became a high-profile issue, there’s still no solution.
In 2017, RCMP embarked on a crackdown on shopping-cart theft, seizing carts from the homeless and returning them to their rightful owners.
It seemed like a proper approach. Police were getting a clear message from businesses. A shopping cart costs about $250. Taking one off the store property is a crime. Such theft costs merchants a great deal of money.
So, between June and September of that year, 33 carts were returned to local businesses. It was intended as a good-news story but public reaction was very different than what was expected. People were outraged by such treatment of homeless people.
Social media went ballistic. It even came up at City council. Police backed off. Everything returned to the way it was before. Today, shopping carts keep disappearing from parking lots and turning up in the darndest places, just like they always have.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to 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.