Homeowners are taking matters into their own hands by using camera security to catch thieves. And there is no law that says they can’t post and upload the video footage online.
Homeowners have had enough of thieves and thefts. They are responding to the threat of break-ins by installing camera security or closed-circuit TV (CCTV). After they capture video footage, homeowners share it to social media in the hope that others can identify the thieves.
Lloyd Pike, a crane operator with the West White Rose Project in Argentia, uses CCTV at his cabin. He encourages others to consider installing CCTV.
“When we ignore a crime, we are a part of the problem,” Pike said. “You will sing a different tune soon as your privacy is violated, and your possessions stolen, and your property damaged.”
On March 26 and March 29, 2020, Pike’s cabin was broken into multiple times by a masked individual, later joined by a second masked individual. They used a claw hammer to pry open the door. Pike’s closed-circuit TV (CCTV) picked it all up.
“They strip your beds, search under your mattress, raid your freezer, refrigerator, cupboards, your closets, and they steal any meds they can get,” Pike said. “Try replacing your meds on a Friday night. Good luck.”
Pike lost a power saw, other tools and a Global Positioning System (GPS). His freezers, which he said were “packed to the lids,” were emptied. Clothing and money was stolen. The items were carried out in fish containers and garbage bags.
“They strip your beds, search under your mattress, raid your freezer, refrigerator, cupboards, your closets, and they steal any meds they can get. Try replacing your meds on a Friday night. Good luck.”– Lloyd Pike
The losses amounted to thousands of dollars in stolen goods and damage. Pike never repaired the door because he didn’t see the sense in it. It couldn’t be fixed. He covered the door with a piece of plywood to secure it.
The police do have the video footage.
“We recommend that activity is reported immediately,” said Const. James Cadigan, public communication officer for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. “We certainly recommend that video footage be passed over to the police service.”
It took a while before Pike posted his videos on social media because he didn’t want to reveal too much. But the more he thought about it, Pike figured that a lot of people didn’t know about the theft and there was the chance if someone knew something, they would come forward with information.
“Posting the video,” Pike said, “was the only way of getting any answers.”
Recently, police in Quebec warned homeowners not to post such videos. But police in Newfoundland and Labrador don’t appear willing to issue a similar advisory.
Cadigan said property owners have the right to secure their properties and capture any activity on that property to promote security and deter criminal activity.
“They have a right to share,” Cadigan said.
In Pike’s case, it worked. The messages poured in via Facebook Messenger and by word of mouth.
As a result, one person was confronted by the police and his fingerprints were taken. A judge issued a court order requiring the individual to stay away from Pike’s property, to have no contact with Pike, to abide by a curfew.
Pike was hopeful that he would get his stuff back, but that never happened. To this day, none of the stolen goods have been recovered.
The break-and-entry still affects Pike and his family. “We don’t trust anybody,” said Pike.
Pike advises homeowners to keep their lights on, always check around their properties, get several cameras, obtain lots of digital storage and set cameras so they are facing each other.
“If they beat one up, you can get them on the other,” Pike explained. “Keep cameras about chest height or lower. If someone comes in with a ball cap on, the cameras will have a better picture of the person’s face as they can see beneath the visor of a ball cap. Have at least one camera watching all access routes.”
With home and package thefts on the rise, Cadigan advises locking windows and doors, keeping curtains closed, having good lighting inside and outside your home. Also, he advises that if you’re not at home to arrange to have packages delivered to a parent, neighbour, or someone you know that may be at home.
“At night, keep your outdoor lighting on,” said Cadigan.
To report a break and entry or theft, call the RNC at 709-729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.