car break-ins at trailheads in Garibaldi Park - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Default car break-ins at trailheads in Garibaldi Park


We hiked on Friday morning ( July 18, 2015) and stayed at Elfin Lakes till Sunday. Once we came back to the parking lot on Sunday noon, we found our car broken into with the passenger window smashed. It turned out that 20 other cars were also broken into on the same day (probably Friday night). I noticed that on some cars people left the note: 'no valuables inside..doors unlocked' or some people left their windows opened. It might be a way to avoid the damage to your car, but I think that something should be done to fight the apparently common on this parking lot car related thefts. There is a note on the BC Parks site Ē This parking lot does have a reputation for several car-related thefts, so do not leave any valuables in your vehicleĒ. We heard about it and we didnít leave any valuables inside but still we have to pay for our window to be replaced. It is a very popular hike and many people backpack to Elfin Lakes. I donít think it is just right for the authorities to acknowledge the problem and move on.. Definitely something should be done about it.

When I looked at some of the earlier posts from 2006/2010 there were already similar discussions related to car break-ins in the Garibaldi region. Nothing has changed and it seems to be getting worse. It is a huge deterrent for tourists who come here to enjoy the beauty of BC. I also want to keep on backpacking this region, enjoy its scenery and get away from the city life. What is also important for me is to have a peace of mind when I am leaving my car on designated lot to go to the area I am paying my fees for. If anybody has an idea who to write to and how to put more pressure on the authorities I would appreciate.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mbryja View Post
If anybody has an idea who to write to and how to put more pressure on the authorities I would appreciate.

1) Parks is part of MoE - minister is currently Mary Polak
2) Squamish RCMP detachment -
3) local MLA is Jordan Sturdy

Send cc's of all correspondence to local papers. Politicians only act on the principle of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. More letters, more emails, more bad press means it is more likely they will act.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 06:37 PM
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do we know if these break ins happen during day or night?
I have to admit I've never done Garibaldi Lake hike because I am terrified that someone will break into my car.
I totally agree with what Anna wrote above.
Dru, thanks for those links.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
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Many thanks Dru for the links above and the tip.. I will write the letter and hopefully can get more people to do the same.. Once voice does not count much. You need more people starting to put more pressure on authorities for things to change..

Kore, that's too bad and this what I am referring to. It is one of the most beautiful place to visit in BC and it so accessible for us living in Vancouver area. I still wanted to visit Garibaldi lakes but now I am afraid to.. the problem is that nobody provides any other option to get to the place - no public transportation, no shuttle buses. I would be happy to pay extra money for this parking lot to be guarded.. there are solutions and they don't have to break anybody's budget.. it is all about the good will!

The break-ins occurred probably on Friday night because we found the note from RCMP in our car that someone reported the incidence on Saturday.. I guess the night is the best time for thieves because there is nobody coming/going..
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 07:08 PM
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I would totally support a parking fee for these areas. But honestly I am not sure if this is ever going to happen. Once you start charging people you need to offer something in return. Are they (MoE, RCMP, Parks) going to have people patrol these lots? Some are really remote and having someone patrol at night might not be that simple. And I guess this is exactly what others are thinking too and they take advantage of the situation

I was thinking about having a shuttle too for Garibaldi. Logistically speaking it might be a little hard since you have people arrive/leave at various times of day/night.... ?
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 07:23 PM
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I was at Rubble Creek parking lot for two nights back on Canada and everything was ok. This weekend we were one night at the Cheakamus Lake Parking Lot and we were ok, though the car beside us had it's door partially open when we arrived on Saturday morning and it was still open when we got back Sunday afternoon. Our vehicle was ok.

I have a soft top Jeep with easy to slice windows. I left my doors unlocked as well as the tailgate.

I consider myself lucky so far with no break ins.

It would probably cost the government as a whole, RCMP, ICBC, etc, less money to hire a security guard for each parking lot than it would be to continue forking over money for windows and what not.

The break in that mbryja mentioned was relayed to my group on Saturday evening by a Ranger. She told us that it was awful how many cars got hit this time and that at least this event brought in a forensics team which is apparently more than they've ever had before.

I'd have much more fun on our hikes and much less stress if I did not have to worry about my vehicle being ok when I get back to it.

Hope this gets some much needed attention.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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I hope so.. I will be calling RCMP today to see of there is any progress in investigation.. there were actually drops of blood on the passenger seat in my car, so I hope that they got something.. Still, I be writing to the authorities..

and in response to kore, I think we all could be willing to pay extra money for peace of mind while we are there to enjoy nature! I realize that there might be some problems with logistics/timing of picking up passenger by shuttle buses. Still we would have an option to take ir or not.. I guess I am believer in small steps - they all accumulate and lead to change..
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 07:49 PM
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You can do Garibaldi Lake by using Greyhound bus, if you're willing to walk a few extra kilometres. Get off the bus at Black Tusk village, it's about 2.5 kms from the turn off to the parking lot, so it'll add 4.5 kms to the hike but it does mean you don't have to worry about your vehicle that way.
I've done Elfin Lakes by taking the Greyhound to Squamish and then a cab from there to the trailhead as well.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 09:27 PM
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I'm very sad to hear this. I've bumped an old e-mail thread I had with the Office of the Premier, the Justice Minister and the Environment Minister with this new information. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so I encourage everyone else to also send in their concerns. The lack of action is becoming very frustrating. The truth is that we will never have as many people talking about this issue as there are people who want to chime in on passing in the left lane or yoga on the bridge so we face an uphill battle.

I've also written the Squamish Chamber of Commerce. They arguably have the most at stake once people start to avoid Squamish due to the complete lawlessness at the trailheads.

Here is my letter:

"I'm one of many hikers who are getting frustrated at the extreme levels of crime in the parking lots for Garibaldi Provincial Park and other trailheads in the Squamish area.

I think that this is a pivotal time for the Squamish Chamber of Commerce. If Squamish wants to be recognized as a world-class tourism destination, it's critical that this problem is solved before a negative online reputation is established. Already it's not uncommon to read negative online experiences about crime at trailheads in Squamish and at some point in the future, it will probably reach a tipping point. Once the reputation is established, it is very difficult to turn it around.

Nothing is changing. If anything, it is getting worse. Here is a small sample from the past few years.

"Whistler RCMP have received 24 reports of theft from vehicles since April 1"

"25 car owners had an unpleasant surprise after leaving their vehicles in a parking lot of a popular hiking area near Squamish."

"Once we came back to the parking lot on Sunday noon, we found our car broken into with the passenger window smashed. It turned out that 20 other cars were also broken into on the same day"

The solution is simple. Bait car/bait property programs have proven to be effective but are not being used in this area. Cameras could be installed. Sting operations or random patrols could be implemented. All it will take is someone in government making the decision to act.

The issue is well known and well understood by the government and has been covered in the media. We've tried writing letters but letters from individuals fall on deaf ears.

I'd like to suggest that this would be an appropriate issue for the Chamber of Commerce to take on with local government. Your members have a lot at stake. Every type of business from a restaurant to a hotel to guides will suffer if Squamish becomes better known for crime than its natural beauty and recreation opportunities."
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 09:49 PM
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Trail cameras installed at the trail heads would be a cheap surveillance option. Having said that would the RCMP follow up on any useful footage? Likely not & even then the courts would slap the thieves on their wrists anyways.

BC's slogan should be changed from "The best place on earth" to "Do whatever you want, its OK".
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Stevently, many thanks for your response.. you are absolutely right that we have to act and pressure the authorities. I moved to BC very recently and I am so surprised that this issue has been raised such a long time ago and nothing has been done so far. The only thing BC Parks / RCMP is doing is warning us about potential theft problem at trailheads...that's not enough...

This weekend, I will thus put the letter together.. I like your idea of adding information about past events to show the recurring pattern.. I already wrote to a local newspaper but haven't heard back from them yet..

Last edited by mbryja; 07-22-2015 at 01:13 PM.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 12:14 AM
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The recurring break-ins and bad publicity as Steventy said, will have an impact on tourism. Once this bad reputation is more widely known online, then visitors will avoid.... and hence the negative impact to the local economy.

Come on you politicians and authorities, get on with the program, and do something... before this problem snowballs even more.

At least set up something to catch the crooks and have them committed, and their names should be publicized.

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 06:11 AM
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I had my vehicle front passenger window side smashed in Garibaldi lake when I did an overnight hike there last November. It was a cold and rainy week and I went there in the middle of the week and there was only one other car in the parking lot when I hiked up. I did not expect the thieves to operate that night but they were there. I had to drive to Vancouver in the rain with a broken window. I said to myself never to do an overnight trip there again. My glove box was forcibly opened as I forgot it was locked.

A month before (October 2014), my car window was smashed at Lindeman lake parking lot as well and the motive was not theft as I left my camera in my car and it was still there. It was purely vandalism. I also promised myself not to do an overnight hike there as well.

Last week, I did a day hike up at Elfin lakes but it was a day hike and so nothing happened to my car.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 11:09 AM
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The California "three strikes and you're out" works well. We camped and hiked at Big Sur about 15 years ago and there is no problem with trailhead break ins. No broken glass anywhere. Coming from the lawless North, we felt personally very secure there. I'm not comfortable advocating that route because it is very much a police state down there. Everyone is uptight except for the low wage Mexicans who were always smiling and cheerful.

I would advocate avoiding areas with break ins or doing what Marc suggests - taking a bus, cab or shuttle to the trailhead. For Elfin, you can park down at the cabins at Ring Creek and walk the extra few km.

Personally, I like gravel backroads. There's usually people with guns. Keeps the crooks honest if there's lots of solid, gun-totin' citizens about. Just a thought for the day. There's an election coming up so you can frame the debate.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 11:18 AM
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In addition to Squamish, RMOWhistler should/would also be concerned about breakins at hiking trailheads
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