Posting Videos May Violate the Privacy of Thieves (They’re Serious…)

black security surveillance camera

( – Canadian citizens in the province of Québec who have been victims of package theft received an unexpected warning from their local law enforcement: posting surveillance footage online of perpetrators stealing packages could violate the thieves’ “private life.”

According to a report from Olivia O’Malley, a video journalist for CTV Montreal West, the area “is known for its large porches,” which are “a big target for thieves” during the holiday season. Every year, when gift shopping is at its peak, a spike in porch thefts follows.

Lauren Small-Pennefather, a city councilor in Montreal West in charge of public security, told CTV that the wave of porch pirates is something they “deal with on a daily basis.” She said that the thieves typically follow the delivery vehicle, watch for packages to be dropped off, and then steal the parcel if nobody answers the door to retrieve it.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the provincial police force, is now warning its local citizens about sharing and posting pictures or videos of alleged porch pirates. Lt. Benoit Richard, a communications officer for SQ, says the images cannot be posted by citizens because, in Canada, there’s “a presumption of innocence.” He said that posting such images or videos “could be a violation of private life” for the alleged thief.

Richard clarified that anyone who obtains “proof that somebody might have stolen something” should “call the police” and give them the evidence instead of sharing it publicly, after which, he said, the police will “do the investigation” and “bring that person to justice” as well as charge them for the crime.

According to CTV, citizens who share surveillance footage online of their packages being lifted could potentially face charges of defamation according to Québec’s Civil Code.

The comments from police sparked backlash from citizens who were in disbelief that they could possibly face civil or even criminal charges, depending on the circumstances, for sharing pictures and videos as victims of a crime. One journalist wrote that in 2024, police seem to “care more about criminals” than their victims.

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