#Montreal: It’s quasi-legal to smash and grab from cars

So why exactly do cities like Montreal have police forces, other than to hand out tickets to speeding drivers and the like? Are police officers, in fact, mainly revenue agents for cities?

I ask these questions because it seems that some crimes are not worth investigating in Montreal and, no doubt, other cities as well. The police are too busy setting up speed traps, apparently, all the while letting some criminals know that they can break car windows and steal contents from the vehicles without fear of their crimes being investigated.

Which is as good as saying that breaking car windows and stealing things is OK. It’s quasi-legal, essentially, because nobody will investigate and insurance companies will pay for the damage without question, minus the deductible, of course.

It happened to my g/f. Her car was parked in the underground garage of her apartment building yesterday evening in Lachine. Some lowlife scumbag moron broke the window on the driver’s side — not the passenger’s side, because he obviously doesn’t have a shred of decency or consideration of others. He stole nothing in the car, because there was nothing worth stealing. So, he did it for nothing.

He also broke into three other vehicles in the garage, shattering the windows on the driver’s sides.

The police were called, but said they were busy and might not be able to show up at the scene of the crime until many hours later, and suggested my g/f go down to the police station the next day — between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. — to file a report.

In other words, no police would bother to investigate the scene, take fingerprints etc. The criminal need not fear he will be caught. The police have, essentially, given him a licence to break into cars and steal things. Never mind that my g/f was crying, that it ruined her day and her weekend, and also affected me. Never mind that the drivers of three others cars and their families and colleagues — because they have to take the morning off — were affected and inconvenienced by the actions of the criminal. Never mind that each driver has to pay a deductible out of their pockets.

And never mind that one day some driver might catch said criminal in the act and beat the crap out of him . . . even kill him.

If the police had come to investigate last night and took fingerprints from each of the cars, maybe those prints would have led them to the criminal. At the very least, his prints would now be on record, and if they ever by chance nail him for another crime, they could bust him for these break-ins as well.

Perhaps it’s the city of Montreal’s fault; maybe it is not budgeting enough money to fight crime. Or maybe it’s the the fault of police commanders who don’t have the vision to see that fighting small crimes might prevent bigger crimes some day . . . because the criminal from last night may be emboldened now and decide to ramp up his crime spree, perhaps targeting your house tonight and someone else’s house tomorrow night.

Police should not be cherry-picking crimes to investigate. All crimes should be investigated. Police should have been interviewing people who live in the apartment building, to see if they noticed anyone unusual hanging around. After all, one can only get into the building with a key . . . This should be an easy case to solve, with fairly minimum effort.

But you can’t solve crimes if you don’t investigate them, eh?

See: Crimefighting 101.

— Jillian

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