Brazen thefts on rise in City

Residents have been unimpressed with police response to recent crime wave

Residents of Rainbow Lodge aren’t the only ones upset with the amount of crime taking place in Langley City.

“Langley City is the place not to be,” says Lois Munday, who sits on the strata council at Monterey Grande at 202 Street and 54A Avenue.

Munday, along with several other residents of her building, are taking up a petition and will present it to City council after one too many break-ins in her building and an increase in crime in her area.

Her frustration is shared by Pyramid apartment manager Ron MacIsaac, who has watched crime spike over the spring break at his building at 203 Street and 54 Avenue. Both are pointing fingers at the police, who they feel aren’t doing enough.

“We as taxpayers are entitled to protection,” said Munday. “All of us are just livid.”

On March 28, roommates living in a ground floor unit were getting ready for work at 7 a.m. when they heard a front window smash.

A thief reached inside, grabbed a laptop from desk and took off. One of the residents went after him in a panic. When she saw no one, she put her key in the common area door and it became stuck. She had to leave it there, and later it was missing.

That night around 2 a.m., someone broke into all the lockers on the second and third floors. Munday said police were called immediately about the first brazen theft but they didn’t come.

“Police should have sent a police dog right away,” she said. Another building had its front window smashed in. Mailboxes are being broken into and spring break saw an increase in graffiti around town.

“Our back alley is used for drug deals and a bedroom. Our stairwell is used for a drug meeting place,” said Munday.

During spring break, two 14-year-olds were caught stealing a vehicle from the Pyramid buildings, said MacIsaac. He caught some teens trying to break into the parkade and when he called 911, police didn’t come and he didn’t hear back from them until four hours later.

MacIsaac said he has worked hard to clean up his complex, but across the street Brighton apartments is having some issues.

Last Thursday, his entire neighbourhood was blocked off while police dealt with an armed shoplifter who ran from the Army and Navy store into a unit at Brighton apartments at 204 Street and 54 Avenue. That 22-year-old surrendered after three hours of negotiations. He has since been charged with having a gun, pointing it at a loss prevention officer and other criminal offenses.

Several weeks ago, residents of Rainbow Lodge organized a meeting with Langley RCMP to ask what could be done about the number of break-ins to vehicles and suspicious people hanging around in their buildings. Some expressed their frustration with police for not coming to process break-ins.

At the meeting, Langley RCMP City Community Policing Sgt. Alex Bodden said police did drop the ball on that file and apologized for it. He asked that residents report every instance of crime so police can better decide to step up enforcement in the area.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender doesn’t believe crime is going up in the City. The crime rate is down overall, he said. But he’s been made well aware of residents’ dissatisfaction. He’s had several meetings and calls from apartment managers and residents upset with being victims of crime.

“I know there are several people saying they aren’t getting timely service from the police, but I think that’s a bit of an overstatement. Having said that, we aren’t shrugging this off,” said Fassbender.

He has had a meeting with one apartment property manager already, who was very upset with police’s lack of reaction.

“I was immediately on the phone to Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke who jumped on the issue,” said Fassbender.

In the case where police didn’t respond to a man’s truck being stolen in front of him, it was because they were busy arresting the two men who took it, he said.

“The RCMP are trying to do the best they can. If a B&E took place but the suspect is long gone, there is no point in police rushing down there. But to the person who feels violated, that’s not good enough,” he said. “But no matter how many police we have, they can’t be everywhere.”

But Fassbender doesn’t want to make excuses for the RCMP.

“If people really aren’t satisfied with how police handled a crime, they need to go right to senior management and call Supt. Cooke,” said Fassbender. “Tell him, this is how you felt. Unless they know, they can’t respond.”

He also welcomes ideas on how to reduce petty crime.

“If people have any better ideas at the moment, I’d love to hear them,” he said.

Senior Langley RCMP officers who work in the City weren’t able to respond to The Times before deadline, because they were off duty.