A community has bolstered its block watch to protect an elderly Elphinstone resident who has seen her home targeted by vandalism for over a year.
Residents of Woodcreek Park neighborhood have experienced increased commotion late at night from disturbances that some residents believe was inspired by a TikTok internet trend.
At least seven times in the past month, 82-year-old Lee Na La has had strangers approach her house late at night and act in ways her neighbours describe as terrorizing.
Robyn Hanson, La’s neighbor, reached out to Coast Reporter after La told her about the assault.
“She said, ‘They’re kicking my door at night, they’re egging my house and throwing rocks at my house and my yard,’” Hanson said.
La said the sounds are terrifying and make going back to sleep almost impossible. Her daughter recently visited during one of the nights and thought the sounds were fireworks. “It was like something exploded, almost like a dynamite explosion woke me up,” said La.
Hanson said that La is a beloved neighbour, who is active in the community. “She is very generous, and she will cook you dinner and will not ask for anything in return.”
The community contacted the RCMP, who stated that they cannot take action without a clear picture of the car and licence plate.
Taking matters into their own hands
In an attempt to help La, residents of Woodcreek Park established their own neighbourhood watch.
Residents take turns parking outfront of La’s house during different sections of the night, and plan to help her get a security camera.
They even helped her install better spotlights on her property — which unfortunately were broken shortly after installation.
While La is thankful for the support from her neighbourhood, she says her biggest concern is that the issue will spread to other communities.
“That’s all to protect myself, but it doesn’t solve the problem for these kids in town. If they don’t come to my house they will go to somebody else’s house,” she said.
According to herself and her neighbours, La spends very little time thinking about herself.
“I’m a very sincere practicing Buddhist, I always think that other people are more important than me,” she said. “It’s so many eggs, I think, do these kids’ mothers not care that eggs are expensive?”
Not just in Gibsons
Hanson noticed similarities between these events and a similar news story from Nanaimo involving a TikTok trend.
The internet trend sees young people recording themselves banging on peoples’ doors and screaming late at night.
Hanson also shared that one of her Coast co-workers has encountered the same thing. Hanson said her coworker explained, “It sounds like you’ve got a bomb squad that is about to break through your door.”
Community members say they have also heard reports of these incidents along Pratt Road and Shaw Road.
Advice from RCMP
Residents of the Woodcreek Park neighbourhood arranged a meeting with Sunshine Coast RCMP Cst. Cole Vander Helm to discuss these concerns and ask for advice.
In the meeting, La stated that these assaults have taken place anywhere between 10:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., and have been occurring for more than a year.
Vander Helm told the community that they should prioritize reporting all of these incidents to the police, and that the online reporting tool is quick and convenient.
He also stated that residents should not engage with these people in any way, and that cameras are a great security measure for safely getting a picture of a car and licence plate.
In a followup conversation with Coast Reporter, Cst. Vander Helm said he hopes parents can spread awareness about the larger issue to their kids and inform them that incidents like this are not a joke.
“It’s just not the same thing as nicky nicky nine doors when you just knock on the door. They’re kicking full throttle on these doors and screaming at the top of their lungs and surely freaks out these people.”
Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.