- Our Town
'Car-hopping' a problem in Revelstoke
By Carl BR Johnson
Revelstoke RCMP say ‘car-hopping’ in Revelstoke has reached a boiling point, so an information-gathering program will begin next month to combat this growing problem.
Car-hopping, a term used by local youth, is the fad where a small group gets together and prowl neighbourhood streets searching for unlocked cars with valuables inside.
“This is a fad amongst the local youth that needs to be addressed,” said RCMP Cst. Gary McLaughlin. “Many of the local youth get together in small groups and after they’ve gone to the bar and they’ll go out together looking for open cars for an iPod or whatever is visible to be taken in somebody’s car.”
McLaughlin said the RCMP will start next month with this yet-to-be-named program that will involve police patrols of neighbourhoods to check for unlocked car doors.
“At this point of our program, it’s just an information gathering session,” he said. “We won’t be issuing tickets or contacting peoples’ property – we just need to find out how bad this problem is before we engage in any sort of official action.”
In a small town like Revelstoke, some residents develop a false sense of security and many feel free to leave their car and house doors open.
“That false sense of security is [the RCMP’s] biggest problem,” he said. “Many think that just because we have a small-town atmosphere that everyone can trust everyone else and leaving doors unlocked comes naturally in this environment.”
McLaughlin re-iterated that people need to be aware that Revelstoke is on the Trans-Canada Highway, where easy access to this town has been granted for transients and other undesirables who add to the problem of car-hopping.
McLaughlin also emphasized the RCMP belief that local youths are responsible for the majority of the car-hopping problem, as opposed to visitors.
On Mar. 12, McLaughlin told Revelstoke city council his concerns about the car-hopping problem.