A sad reality slapped a lot of Comox Valley residents in the face last week, with the fallout of the Courtenay duplex fire.
When its cause was revealed, the innocence of the Comox Valley was lost, for many in our community.
No, it did not surprise a lot of us, as was evident by all those who boastfully “called it” on social media, prior to the RCMP confirming that the fire was a result of a drug-making operation gone awry.
But for others, it was a shock.
This is the Comox Valley, where we are proud that fish being stolen from a deep freeze in an unlocked garage is a serious enough crime to make the weekly “cop blotter.”
The fact that the police only send out a weekly blotter, as opposed to an overnight report, is, in itself, telling of the community we call home.
That all changed last Friday.
The underground became mainstream.
The realists will shake their heads, wondering how anyone could be so naive as to think “it doesn’t happen here.”
The truth of the matter is, compared to the crime in most communities the size of the Comox Valley, it generally doesn’t happen here. So, when it does, people get scared.
The most plausible explanation for the relative lack of criminal activity in the Comox Valley is its demographics.
According to Statistics Canada, the largest single five-year age group in Courtenay is that of the 60- to 64-year-olds (approximately 4,800).
The median age in the Comox Valley is 53.9 – that’s more than 13 years older than the national mean age (40.6).
It’s no secret that people come here to retire. And, generally speaking, it’s not the seniors committing the violent crimes.
So, when something like a house blowing up due to criminal activity happens in our back yard, a lot of us are gobsmacked.
When did we turn into the Lower Mainland? We haven’t.
This is not the start of some deep-seeded crime wave. It’s unlikely that the Comox Valley will ever be a hot spot for gang turf wars, as long as golf and gardening remain legal.
This was simply a reminder that crime does happen. Everywhere. Even in the Comox Valley.