Organized break-and-enter gangs arrive as tourists and target Canadian neighbourhoods
Organized crime members are coming to Canada from South America with the goal of burglarizing homes and stealing thousands of dollars in items and cash. Saturday on CTV at 7 p.m., W5 investigates this alarming global trend known as ' crime tourism .'Paul Haber Published Friday, January 24, 2020 4:00PM EST Last Updated Friday, January 24, 2020 4:17PM EST SHARE TORONTO -- There is a new type of tourist coming to Canada, one that is not interested in seeing the sights this country has to offer, but in burglarizing houses, particularly in affluent neighbourhoods. These break-and-enter artists are part of an international crime wave that police say has roots in South America, has crossed the Atlantic targeting several European countries, and is now making its way to North America. It’s a disturbing trend that international law enforcement agencies reveal is getting bigger and more organized. In the United States, the FBI even has a name for it: “Crime Tourism.” Police agencies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe report that most of these uninvited visitors are Chilean. They do not require a visa to enter Canada as a tourist. W5 contacted police forces across Canada and found examples of crime tourism from coast to coast. One of the earliest examples was in 2015, when Toronto police arrested 12 Chileans and laid over 97 charges. In Revelstoke, B.C., RCMP arrested three Chileans who were in possession of thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry and cash. In Montreal at least six Chileans were arrested by police. They were part of a gang, police say, stole more than $210,000 in cash and jewelry from one house alone. In October 2019, York Regional Police, a police force which operates near Toronto, arrested three Chileans and laid more than 60 charges. One of the biggest crime tourism busts in Canada occurred in 2018, when police in Halton Region, just west of Toronto, arrested 15 Chileans as part of an operation codenamed “Project Estruendo.” Four hundred burglaries were linked to a single crime ring. One of those homes belonged to Caitlin Crawford. In an interview with W5 she recounted coming home to find the lock on her back door broken and the door wide open. Besides the loss of personal items, what troubles her the most is the sense of violation. “Having strangers in our home and especially in our kids bedrooms. That part was really sickening,” said Crawford. Det. Sgt. Paul Foley of the Halton Regional Police Service told W5 “this was by far the biggest and probably most successful” case he has worked on while leading the Criminal Investigations Bureau. Foreign burglars “come in, they essentially parachute into the community, they’ll target different neighbourhoods across the Greater Toronto Area,” said Foley, recounting the methods used by the criminals. After they’ve burgled a home the thieves either pawn the stolen goods or mail them back to Chile. “We were able to get evidence to suggest that they were wiring money back home. Presumably that’s from pawning out property,” said Foley. In the end, Project Estruendo recovered $2.7 million worth of stolen goods. Fourteen Chileans were convicted of breaking-and-entering offences. Most pleaded guilty and were deported back to Chile. INTERNATIONAL TOURISM CRIME Foley’s experience mirrors that of police half a world away in the Netherlands, who have been watching organized break-and-enter gangs come into Europe via Spain and then rob their way across the continent. Dutch police have established a special task force to fight the crime tourists. Officer Nick Kenbeek took the W5 team on a tour of the suburban Amsterdam neighbourhoods that are targeted by the criminals. They are very similar to the suburban neighbourhoods surrounding Canadian cities, with residents away at work during the day when the criminals strike. According to Kenbeek, the criminals appear to be a step ahead of law enforcement. “We know when people are arrested by us the organized crime kicks in,” said Kenbeek. “They take the people, bring them back to Chile and new ones are flying in.” ”It’s difficult because of how transient they are. It’s difficult to monitor them within Canada,” said Det. Sgt. Foley. DETECTING THESE CRIMINALS The transient nature of these criminals puts the onus on the Canadian Border Services Agency to filter these would-be criminals from entering Canada in the first place. W5 asked Public Safety Minister Bill Blair how these Chilean criminals can get into Canada, past immigration and customs officers. In a written statement, the Office of the Minister of Public Safety said: “Government’s greatest responsibility is to keep its citizens safe. While we cannot comment on the specifics of any one case or file, we understand that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is aware of possible South American theft groups in Canada and has developed an effective program to identify and intercept these groups to ensure the continued safety of all Canadians.” The statement did not elaborate on what the program is, or how its effectiveness is determined. Foley believes “there is no golden ticket that’s going to solve it.” “Can we stop crime tourism? I doubt we can stop crime tourism, but what I do think is if we continue to work together with all the partners we can help reduce it.” There are few things authorities say homeowners can do to protect themselves from burglars: When out, leave the lights or a TV on to make it look like the house is occupied. Have a neighbour clear the snow and collect mail if you are expected to be away for a prolonged period of time. Be a good neighbour and report any suspicious activity to local police. RELATED IMAGES Read more: CTV News
Stop by my place any time ;) Old news my friends Time to screen chileans Welcome to a dysfunctional world for those who are beginning to wake up. Wimpy immigration vetting, wimpy criminal justice system for such crimes. Too many weak willed politicians (Trudeau gang as an example). And this is exactly why it's BS that we can't protect our homes with a firearm. Activities are the enablers of all wrong doing in this country.
Chileans? What are you hiding from Canadians pm blackface? Thank you JustinTrudeau for making Canada safer Last time I checked, the prison population in Canada is 99% christian.. Too many brothers and sisters having kids!! Just another example of how Liberal policies and legislation is enabling high end organized crime into our Country and allows is to flourish!
No worries our courts will find them not guilty and be given severance. Instead deport and cut funding to those countries who seem unaware of their countrymen’s crime. LOL, so, the police are aware of it, csis is aware of it, customs is aware of it and NOTHING is being done...once again, welcome to trudeau-castro's dystopian reign of terror
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savagecookie 'Open the borders!', Liberals said. 'It'll be fun!', Liberals said. If you get robbed, if someone in your family is raped or murdered, don't talk about it, it never happened. It's for the 'greater good!' Always remember, DiversityIsOurStrength WelcomeToCanada Seems like the majority of the tourist criminals are visiting from Chilie .
Diversity is our strength!! Thanks again jihad justin. 'Can we stop crime tourism? I doubt we can stop crime tourism.' Well that's reassuring! No surprise during the soviet break ip alot easter europes came here and they were the one who wete resposible for the streak of bne pistolwipping were they just drove up in van would kick doors down and just rush the place in groups
Please leave us alone with your sensationalist news move. Especially whit your anchors need a change Ask them for visas. If only there was some deterrent law abiding citizens could keep I. Their houses.... Perhaps requiring VISAs is in order?
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So much easier to just claim asylum, then the government robs the taxpayer for you. Too bad we didn't have stronger borders CANADA Police Care this? Diversity is our strength Fail to understand why we are letting immigrants, refugees and tourist scrum bags into our country! Yep. Saw this coming. Pretty soon, they’ll be robbing stores too.
Welcome to the world of multi-culturalism. Interesting. What did Canada do to Chile ? They have no right to come to Canada and violate people that is just not the way to handle things. I'm Chilean living in Canada for a decade, and besides feeling extremely angry for these scumbags, I found hilarious people in my native Chile are criticizing immigrants for 'spoiling our country'
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When you have government departments that doesn't talk to each other that's what happen. Our government opened our borders to them. Thanks JustinTrudeau this is what you call diversity? diversity is our downfall...………00 buckshot would solve the problem The common sense response is to require visas for Chilean tourists. Will the Feb. Liberals fix it ? Don't hold your breath.
For those of you who didn't read the story ,they are coming from Chile. Chilean gangs doing this for a living. Time for the retinal scans to come in before entry. Losers Why castle law doctrine needs to be adopted here: this. Perfect example of why law abiding citizens need to arm themselves. Where do they come from? Mexico
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Shoot shovel and shutup DiversityIsOurStrength When entering Japan, one must give up a thumb print. We should do the same to all tourists coming to Canada. My first question when I catch you breaking into my house is 'Does anyone know you're here?' Tourists have figured out life's cheap in Toronto and little consequences for crime.
Anyone doing any form of crime in this country should be held to the most highest punishment then deport their low life ass back and bam the ish out of them. Perhaps we should consider people getting visas when arriving here from certain countries. Does your definition of tourist really mean immigrant or asylum seeker?
I think the Canadian people will take care of them Break into my house and catch a quicker deportation than you were expecting. 😡
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Diversity. Culture. Multiculturalism.
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