Life in a small town

Reality check …

Started my Monday at 03:17:24 with a great crashing and banging of smashing glass and alarms and sirens and the usual hullabaloo accompanying yet another annual break-in into our establishment which occupies the ground floor of the building in which we live. Monitoring company calls immediately, “Yes we have been broken into, I can still hear whoever moving around downstairs. Yes, please send the RCMP. Yes, we will wait for their arrival”. Well, this is all right on schedule, 11 and a half months since the last one.

I suspect that most folks never experience this kind of event in their entire lives. It is something they hear about (maybe) on their evening or morning news, especially if accompanied by gruesome reports of blood and mayhem.  Absent the blood and mayhem it is unlikely to make anyone’s calendar except for the perp’s and the victim’s. I can tell you it is quite a rush every time it happens.

All the past break-ins have been one or two people in masks rushing in at 03:00AM or so and grabbing a few items and rushing out. I remember the first one, six years ago, was a local who had just left the bar down the street and went straight home after, where he was promptly taken into custody within an hour. Not anymore. I have installed and functioning here a comprehensive video surveillance system, which allows me to watch the event almost live and in full colour (NOTE to Security Sales People and potential buyers of same: Cameras don’t “protect” anything!  They just give you a nice home movie to show the cops if you survive the incident. This time the perps arrived in a black Ford 3/4 Ton Crewcab which pulled up quietly and stopped in front of our door. Five bodies bailed out in hoodies, coveralls, gloves, face-masks and headlamps, carrying big green or black garbage bags.

Body #1 approached the entrance door and smashed same with a crowbar and then lead the parade into our business directly back to the dispensary where they systematically looted the entire inventory and then returned out through the smashed entrance door, smashing some other stuff on the way. Everyone piled back into the crew-cab after dumping their bags of loot in the box and quietly drove away heading for the highway.  The entire mission was completed in 7 minutes, start to finish.  This is all pretty innocuous in a movie but it is rather disturbing when it is happening live in real time in your home.

As any experienced business person can tell you the existence of police is no deterrence. The baddies know law-enforcement routines and response times, have previously scoped out the target in advance and make their raid with confidence and a kind of professional aplomb. In a city one might expect several cars and maybe 10 officers within 10 minutes of the alarm. Out this way, there might be only one constable on duty in the entire county, which makes perfect sense 99.99999% of the time. Response times are 20 to 30 minutes and no organization on the planet can staff for 100% coverage – we couldn’t afford the taxes to support that sort of staffing. They simply have to go with the patterns of activity.

I thought, “This changes the security equation completely”.  One or two baddies I can deal with. Five or more means the odds are not in my favour without the use of deadly force and frankly there is nothing in this business I feel is worth killing someone over. Added to this is the complete, gut level, understanding that should I execute half a dozen bad guys, the full force of the law will descend upon ME because it would not be a sanctioned execution and I had no state authority to do so. Rules of engagement still apply, and in this country only police, correctional officers, and bad guys are in the applied force business. The other complication is the question of what the surviving gang members might decide to do. I have no delusions that this is a 5 man gang.  They are just the ones doing door-to-door canvasing for donations this month.

So it becomes a question of securing my family in the upstairs apartment against any assault short of an airstrike. In the moment I am wondering if it might not just be simpler to build a new house somewhere else less attractive to the sorts of people who make their way in the world by preying on targets of opportunity.  Well, enough for now, have to go do a complete inventory in preparation for police report and insurance claims and restocking order, I expect we are talking 30 or 40 thousand but we will see.




Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately


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