“Creep catchers” have taken over Surrey – people who track down other men or women who are trying to lure young teens online.
Ryan LaForge, president of Surrey Creep Catchers, says they travel all over Metro Vancouver trying to catch people who are looking to illicitly meet underage kids, as young as 13.
A Surrey Creep Catcher will chat with these people online, at first saying he is over 18 and then admitting he is underage, just to see which ones will take the bait.
LaForge and his crew take video cameras along and film their encounters to post online.
Embarrassing them, he says, is his way of combating the B.C. justice system, which he says continually lets people like pedophiles out of jail and into the public.
But the police aren’t on board with the creep catchers.
“Vigilantism, no matter how well meaning, does not involve police and therefore is void of ongoing safety considerations,” said Surrey RCMP Cst. Scotty Schumann.
LaFarge’s safety has been threatened in the past: one of his videos shows a target throwing punches when he realizes he’s being filmed.
And in terms of legal rights, there isn’t much stopping one of the creep catchers’ targets from filing a lawsuit.
“They are putting everybody in the picture at an extraordinary level of risk, and all I can say is, it’s not a good idea,” said lawyer David F. Sutherland.
LaFarge admits he has his own criminal record for mischief, failing to stop at an accident, and drug possession.
But despite of the backlash, Surrey Creep Catchers will be hosting a thank-you barbecue on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Hawthorne Park in Surrey to show gratitude to all their supporters.