Reckless hometown vigilantes
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
A group known as the Surrey Creep Catchers has been busting online predators in the act. Posing as teenagers who are under the age of consent, the group seeks out people online and arranges a meetup. They then bust them Dateline NBC style and call the police.
This group is doing an important job by exposing the sexual predators of society who attempt to meet up with 13-year-olds on the internet. Those who lure the innocent and attempt or commit statutory rape absolutely deserve to be exposed. Perhaps most alarming was the bust of an active RCMP officer, who is now facing charges.
Far too often, people get away with this kind of behaviour on every level—never facing charges, never going to trial, and being let off with light sentences. More than we know, it involves those in positions of power, who even use their status for personal gain, and to cover up their heinous activities. The Creep Catcher motto is that the justice system often fails, and there’s no doubt they’re doing what many might call God’s work.
Nevertheless, vigilantism is never okay, and should never be praised. The Creep Catchers have been attacked and punched during their encounters, and any one of the people they lure could file a massive lawsuit. They are not police, and they do not have the powers or abilities of police, who are trained to deal with the people they seek. Not to mention the borderline illegal activity of it all—there’s a reason why vigilantism is against the law.
It’s hard to condemn someone who seeks to expose powerful people for secretly being pedophiles, but it’s an unfortunate necessity. There are too many risks involved—including the innocents who can easily get caught up. When something of this calibre goes online, it spins out of control. A single misidentified name gets posted as being the one in the video, and that person is now being falsely slandered as a sexual predator.
Authority figures in society are only human—and just like everyone else, you get a lot of bad people. There’s little doubt that they’re held to higher standards, and perhaps overtly respected without justification. The RCMP has rigorous moral standards—but one of them still attempted to lure an underage teen for sex. It’s not the first time it’s happened, and it probably won’t be the last. In many areas, law enforcement officials are even more corrupt—police officers in the US and Canada murder unarmed black teenagers all the time, often without any repercussions whatsoever. It’s a difficult topic, but it’s not one that’s solvable by internet vigilantes, either.
It won’t be long until someone is seriously harmed, ruined, or worse from the Creep Catchers business. I applaud what they’re doing—but it’s still not an activity we should condone.