Police are reminding BCers that bear spray should be used only on bears.
This after a number of incidents in Campbell River, where the spray was used by youth as a weapon as opposed to simply an animal deterrent. The spray is often found in backpacks along with knives when police are breaking up groups of young teens who are drinking or smoking in public places.
Cst. Maury Tyre says when questioned why they have spray, youth often give the excuse that “it’s dangerous out.”
Tyre says if your kids are telling you that it’s dangerous out there, it’s probably time to start asking where they are hanging out and who they are hanging out with.
“Most violent crimes in the community are conducted by people who are known well to each other, not by complete strangers,” says Tyre. “So, if the people you are hanging out with carry weapons, that just increases the likelihood that a weapon could be used against you.”
The most recent incident of teen-on-teen violence with bear spray involved two boys. One sprayed another as part of retribution for losing a fight. Police say that the only reason that boy wasn’t charged with assault with a weapon was because the victim was uncooperative with the investigation.
The use of bear spray has had some harsh effects on victims. In general, RCMP say the pressurization of the can is a factor and the spray could cause serious damage to the eyes of the recipient – which could lead to aggravated assault charges.
To sum it up, police say, “Simply put, bear spray is for using on Yogi and Boo Boo when they are dangerously trying to steal your pick-a-nic basket. If you or your youth are carrying it for human to human protection, you can and will be charged.”