September 18, 2020

By ANDREW SOULSBY

We are all targets of crime in an age when expensive mobile computers are as common as wristwatches used to be only a decade ago.
In fact, just 60 years ago only the most prosperous governments in the world could afford computers and they were a thousand times more expensive, bigger and slower than the most common of smart phones today. Try and wrap your head around that, just for a minute.
Now, think about the people who typically use smart phones and how they use them. Introduce alcohol and a poorly lit street at night and you have put yourself into the shoes of the criminals who are behind opportunistic and predatory crimes.
In two separate instances during the early morning hours of Feb. 10 in the Northdale neighbourhood of Waterloo, a neighbourhood that has been branded the sometimes comical but also sometimes very real nickname of student ghetto, a man wearing all black used a handgun to hold up two 20-year-old males and robbed them of their phones and other belongings.
In both cases, the victims were unable to report the crimes right away, making an investigation and arrest difficult.
In response, Waterloo Regional Police Services issued a public advisory on Feb. 21 urging young people to be more aware of their surroundings while walking at night. According to the advisory, “incidents of this type tend to escalate during school breaks and holidays.”
Police believe an increased use of alcohol during these periods causes people to be drunk and unaware of their surroundings. The advisory also said investigations have revealed “that some robberies occurred after the location of house parties and social gatherings were posted on social media.”
It is safe to assume, then, these crimes are primarily youth-on-youth and illuminate the ongoing battle between the haves and the have-nots. Those whose parents can’t afford to supply their kids with the latest and greatest in technology find themselves on the outskirts of parties where the affluent drink and stumble out with earbuds in place and the latest touch-screen super computer in their pockets.
The wristwatch status symbols of yesterday have been replaced by the Galaxy Nexus, the iPhone and the Blackberry Bold 9900 and have left our youth as walking targets with money sign halos above their heads.