You have to feel sorry for the vacationing Wisconsin couple whose $100,000 camper van was stolen in Vancouver last week.

Given the habit by civic boosters in this region to gloss over local lawlessness, the tourists probably never saw this coming.

The good news is that on Friday the Wisconsinites got their vehicle back. Lucky for them, they are free to drive away from the Lower Mainland’s criminal class whenever they want.

The rest of us are stuck here.

If you can believe it, crime rates in this country and region are apparently on their way down. That’s what we are hearing from Statistics Canada. This is because Canadians reported three per cent fewer crimes to police than last year — and 17 per cent less than a decade ago.

I don’t buy the methodology. Neither do senior cabinet ministers in the federal government, who maintain that Canadians on the whole are under-reporting criminal activity.

Myself, I stopped reporting various thefts and attempted thefts of my property a long time ago.
When car thieves tried to make off with my van earlier this year, I decided to strike back with security. I bought an obnoxious car alarm, an immobilizer and an old-fashioned steering wheel lock.

But it’s not just my wheels that have been under siege.

Earlier this month, the folks in my small North Vancouver condominium building banded together and hired the services of a night security guard. Why? Because our building has been under attack for weeks by a handful of break-and-enter enthusiasts.

The most recent case involved a brazen thug who did most of his damage while half in the bag. Really.

According to an eyewitness account, this fun-loving thug was chugging back a popular brand of rum while picking at locks in our underground parkade. In the end, he managed to damage a motorcycle, trash a storage locker door, and smash the back windows of a truck that he inevitably looted. He also found time to slash some tires.

Hence our newfound security budget.

It’s not just in North Van where condo owners are hiring security, mind you. Residents in the West End resorted to hiring condo cops to protect their lawns from an onslaught of urinating drunks during the recently held fireworks displays.

A lack of public loos notwithstanding, the case is symbolic of the permanent flush deserved by those in this country who remain soft on crime.