With advancements in technology, security measures have grown more and more intricate. CCTV cameras are virtually everywhere you turn, smart keyless locks are now widely used in homes, and there is a tracking device for almost everything. However, this has been mirrored by an equally aggressive and innovative rise in crime.
One of the more interesting of these is the spike of crime tourism. You may have come across the phrase while scrolling through one of your feeds. Crime tourism has become so prevalent in Canada that the FBI has flagged it. So what exactly is it? Simply put, crime tourism occurs when small groups come into the country specifically to commit crimes.
The most common of these are home burglaries. To protect themselves, homeowners need to understand how these groups operate.
Burglary Crime Tourism
Burglary, or break-and-enter, ranks as one of the most prevalent crimes committed by these groups. In April 2018, 15 Chilean nationals were arrested by the police. It was estimated that the group had been responsible for more than 400 residential break-ins. Even with successful police raids, the recovered loot and arrests are just the tip of the iceberg.
Investigations increasingly point to the fact that the South American Theft Groups (SATGs) are hitting cities across Canada. Homeowners have been forced to take additional measures to protect themselves from these criminals. Experts offering locksmith Calgary services increasingly point out the importance of securing doors with quality locks.
SATGs and Canada
Security agencies have been working to establish an explanation of why SATGs are particularly interested in Canada. The FBI has proposed that Canada’s lax laws make it very attractive for these gangs. Though the gangs were dubbed South American Theft Groups, the actual criminals are from many countries, with the most prominent group hailing from Chile.
These thieves are very successful in their operations, with police recovering about $2.7 million in stolen watches, jewelry, designer clothing, and bags from a single gang. The gangs don’t limit themselves to Canada only. They’re also active in other countries – these criminals have been arrested for robberies in France, Spain, Australia, and the UK.
In one case, Chileans were being flown out to London, where they would commit burglaries and then flown out and replaced every two weeks.
How It’s Done
When committing a home burglary, SATGs typically operate in groups of three or four people. The group will identify a residence, ‘case it’ to identify valuables and security measures. Usually, the items targeted in crime tourism are easy to carry and sell in the black market. Cash, jewelry, watches, and other valuable accessories are often targets of this type of crime. The crime itself is done in four simple steps:
- The driver parks the car somewhere slightly hidden, yet accessible such as an alley or back way. That prevents easy future identification and offers a convenient escape route.
- A ‘door-knocker’ checks if anyone is home. If there’s someone home, a simple excuse such as taking a survey is offered, and the burglary called off.
- If there’s no one home, the entry team finds a way into the house as the doorknocker stands guard to alert them in case they are spotted.
- Once the valuables are collected, the group makes its way to the getaway car.
How Your Avoid Being a Victim
While these groups rarely commit violent crimes, they can be dangerous when confronted. Adding an extra layer of security to your home will ensure you don’t become one of their victims. Ensure you have reinforced doors and high-grade door locks for your exterior doors, secure your windows, and install security cameras to deter criminals.