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Let's all be extra vigilant

Theft and senseless vandalism continue to plague our communities, so much so, we're issuing a call to action.

Theft and senseless vandalism continue to plague our communities, so much so, we're issuing a call to action.

Reports from a wide range of addresses in Gibsons, from Sunset Place to Harry Road, were reported to police two weekends ago, regarding mischief to property and vehicles and thefts from unlocked vehicles. Several addresses had windows or vehicle windshields smashed with rocks or, in one case, a jar of jam. One homeowner had a variety of garden furniture and planters damaged, another had some change stolen from an unlocked vehicle, and a couple had their vehicles vandalized with keys.

Then on Saturday morning, May 15, a Gibsons resident woke to find someone had taken a knife to her car, slashing the tires and damaging the vehicle to the tune of more than $3,000. And she was not the lone victim, as 11 cars were hit between Friday night and Saturday morning. Another three were reported on Sunday morning, bringing the total to a staggering 21 vehicles reported vandalized and damaged in a six-day period.

The damage has become so disturbing, it prompted a resident to write to us this week, pleading for the public to help police catch the would-be vandals. She feels violated and frustrated at being a target, and we certainly echo her frustration.

She suggested some sort of night-time surveillance campaign, maybe spearheaded by ICBC and local police, which is a great idea. But let's face it, that costs money, and there is little hope of getting more government funding. But there is the successful Citizens on Patrol (COPS) volunteer group that has chapters in several of our Coast communities. They work with the police to do just that - night-time surveillance - and are extra eyes and ears to aid police. It's a great program, but it's always in need of more volunteers. If anyone is interested, please step up and volunteer.

The bottom line is volunteer groups like COPS and the members of the Sunshine Coast RCMP can only be in so many places at once. It's up to all of us to be extra vigilant. We're not suggesting taking the law into one's own hands, rather watching out for your neighbours and their property. If you see something or someone suspicious in your neighbourhood, report it immediately.

These random acts of vandalism and violence are senseless crimes, but if we all play a part in protecting each other, the culprits can be caught and brought to justice and these criminals will be stopped.