News

Theft from locker prompts call for camera

A Coquitlam woman is calling on the city to tighten up security at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex after her daughter’s locker was broken into and her personal items stolen.

Monique Power said her family has already spent more than $1,500 replacing the stolen items and changing the locks on their family home. Her daughter’s cellphone, wallet, identification and keys were all taken from the communal lockers located in the hallway outside the change rooms at the recreation facility.

“I am really surprised that they haven’t done more about this,” she said.

While putting a security camera inside the change rooms would breach privacy laws, Power said she would like to see a camera installed in the hallway area around the lockers outside the gym. She added that more signage is also necessary to inform users of the facility about the potential for locker break-ins.

Power said she is working with staff at the recreation centre to file a police report.

Jason Blood, the aquatics manager with the city of Coquitlam, said he would look into the possibility of adding a surveillance camera in the locker area outside the change rooms.

“With the place being so new, we are constantly reviewing where we have cameras,” he said. “If we don’t have one there, that is something we will look into.”

Blood estimated that an average of one locker a month is broken into each at the City Centre Aquatic Complex or the Poirier facility. Often, thieves will spot people in the parking lot, carrying in cellphones and wearing jewelry, before targeting their locker for a theft.

Blood said people must be mindful of what they are bringing to the rec centre and how careful they are to conceal it before putting it in a locker.

“If people are more aware of their surroundings and not necessarily bringing expensive items to the pool, that will have just as much of a deterrent,” he said. “We encourage people to think about what they bring to the pool.”

The city is also trying to combat thefts with its bait locker program, which was launched by the Coquitlam Community Policing Station two years ago.

Bait lockers are armed with alarms so when a thief pries open the door, staff and security are notified that a break-in is occurring. Signs are also placed around the locker area informing would-be thieves of the risk of opening a bait locker.

Nicole Cairns, the co-ordinator with the community policing station, said the initiative has led to significant reductions in break-ins at several community centres around the Tri-Cities.

“In Port Coquitlam [at Hyde Creek rec centre], it made a drastic change,” she said. “In Coquitlam it has reduced it but to what extent, I don’t know.”

 

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

 

 

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