In the news item about the break-ins at the little row of stores on Foul Bay Road, the question was posed re: whether those stores had ever been robbed before:
December 1, 1964
Couple Wanted For Questioning
A middle-aged man and a woman companion are being sought for questioning by Oak Bay Police in connection with the Sunday disappearance of $1,500 in cash and cheques from a grocery store strongbox.
Edwin G. Lewis, proprietor of Lewis' Low Cost Food Market, 2897 Foul Bay Road, told police he found a bundle of cash and cheques was missing and the inner door of the office safe jimmied about 11pm.
In another weekend theft, clumsy safecrackers stole $754 from a safe at Bapco Paint Supply, 719 Yates. They forced a mezzanine floor window to gain entry and peeled the door off the five-foot by three-foot safe with tools found at the scene.
Thieves used the same method to break a safe in the office of the S.S. Kresge Ltd. Douglas Street store less than a month ago.
This led me to discover the answer to my own question from a while ago re: safecrackings back in the day. Why were there so many safecrackings? Here's the answer: a) because the police department was overburdened, not enough beat cops, and b) because Vancouver was a place. In other words, the same lame explanations that Victorians still fall back upon today whenever it's convenient to do so.
January 4, 1963
Too Many Thefts
Too Few Constables
"Can the Police Stop This?"
A mounting wave of burglaries and safecrackings has district merchants asking: "Can the police stop this?"
Recent victims and police alike blame lack of manpower for the problem.
W.J. Clark, insurance manager of Hagar and Swayne, said burglary claims against insurance had increased over the past few years.
More Than Ever
"Before 1958 or 1957 we didn't have a burglary claim of any kind for 10 years. (aastra says: give me a break) I think there were 18 last weekend. There were a great many more claims in the past 12 months than there had ever been before in Victoria."
There have been more than a dozen major safecrackings in the area since early last year with a total haul of almost $70,000, together with dozens of minor burglaries and many unsuccessful safecracking attempts.
Most recent safe job happened yesterday morning when more than $2,000 in cash and cheques was taken from a city store.
Most of the victims said police were doing the best they could, but almost all felt police forces are understaffed.
"In business circles it has been questioned, 'How come there have been mighty few arrests.'"
"We are satisfied the police give us the attention we require but we are disappointed that nobody is caught."
Mr. Davies is manager of the city store hit by safecrackers yesterday.
Mr. Davies' store has lost $7,000 in three robberies in the past three years. None was recovered, he said.
Major safecracking in the past 12 months was $21,000 stolen from Don Mee Company, a scant 100 yards away from the city police station...
Others were the theft of $12,500 from the Humboldt Street liquor store...; theft of $15,000 in cash and cheques from the Hi-Way Foodliner at Colwood Corners...
Colwood Pharmacy at Colwood Corners has been robbed three times, losing several thousands of dollars and drugs; ...owner of the Guest House Hotel in Oak Bay, lost $1,300 in cash, cameras, a pistol and typewriter over the July 1 weekened; the Atlas Theatre in Victoria was robbed of $600 the same weekend.
City Police Chief John Blackstock said flatly that his force is understaffed.
"There is no question the force is short of men. Victoria now has 98 men and we need more. The business area is stretching out, there is more work to be done, the population is bigger."
"We have good ferries now and they can take the 7 a.m. ferry and be pretty well across the water before we know about a job."
Leave Lights On
"Have the safe where it can be seen from the street. Have windows on back alleys barred. Leave lights burning inside and in the alley."
"Leave a number of marked bills in the safe at all times. Make sure premises are securely fastened. We get an average of about 90 insecure premises a month."
"They don't seem to be able to catch anybody. Nobody gets caught. We could have more police in Oak Bay. They are all in cars. They would catch you if you went through a stop sign. There should be some beat constables walking around."
"The police are doing the best they can with a huge territory (Saanich)... We do need more police in Saanich but I don't think Saanich can afford it. The whole thing would be more efficiently run if there was amalgamation."
"After a while you wonder what is going to stop it. I would like to see beat policemen increased. The government ferries have made it very easy for safecrackers."
$2,000 Loot Lost To Safecrackers
Safecrackers netted over $2,000 in cash and cheques early yesterday morning when they broke into and robbed Spencer's Stores Ltd., 1420 Douglas.
It was the third time in three years the store had been burglarized.
The loot was taken from a 500-pound steel plate safe which had been hacked open when the thieves found they could not remove it from the building.
They had apparently tried to get the safe into an elevator, but it was too big. It was found stuck in the elevator door.
The safe had been removed from a small office on a landing. Its weight damaged the stairs and woodwork as it was lugged to the ground floor.
Police later found two blasting caps...
Edited by aastra, 05 November 2020 - 07:48 PM.