There’s nothing like spending a day on the trail deep in the wilderness far from the ills of modern society–to return to your vehicle at the trailhead to see that the ills of modern society have paid you a visit. Car break-ins, smash-and-grabs, car clouting-whatever you want to call it is far too common at many of our trailheads-and already trailheads along the Mountain Loop Highway near Granite Falls are seeing a spike in this activity. More than likely it’s the usual perps- meth heads and other junkies looking for a quick and easy hit to sustain their habits.
So how do we stop this from happening to us at our favorite trails? Other than attacking the big picture here which is addressing substance abuse in our society- which is responsible for the majority of our property crimes-something that we as a nation haven’t seemed to be able to successfully address yet-what do we hikers do? And I don’t want to hear about your Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson fantasies -I am talking about real solutions here not knee-jerk reactions (but trust me we all have those, too). I would think that if I was a business owner in Granite Falls (or some of the other areas like the Columbia River Gorge and BC Lower Mainland that is hit hard with this crime) I would be really concerned.
How many more of these break-ins have to occur before hikers start heading somewhere else-or is this already happening? How many of you out there are avoiding trailheads in high crime areas? I know I take this into consideration when I am planning a hike. There are trails for instance that I would absolutely not leave my car overnight at for a backpacking trip. Sure I have insurance and sure it can happen anywhere-but when the odds are pretty good that it is may happen at a specific area-I hedge my bet somewhere else. So what about you? How do you address the issue of car break-ins at trailheads? What should be done? Do you think it is even a problem? Or is it just another societal ill that we need to resign ourselves to accept-and just go about on our merrily way down the trail?