The recent alleged arrest of Creep Catchers President Ryan Laforge has placed the practices of many vigilante groups in the Lower Mainland under the microscope.
Those groups have been heavily criticized for their practice of bypassing traditional law enforcement in order to confront possible predators themselves.
However, another group operating under the name “Creep Hunters” believes they’re doing the work of catching predators in a safe way.
Creep Hunters Executive Director Brendon Brady spoke to Steele & Drex about the aspects that he thinks makes their group different.
LISTEN to the full interview below:
Chief among those aspects being the group’s lack of actual confrontation according to Brady.
He says they take any information gathered straight to the police – which he says is a stark contrast to Creep Catchers’ “naming-and-shaming” approach.
And when the police don’t agree with their findings, Brady says they respectfully part ways.
“We leave it at that and move on to the next… we want to make sure that people are actually going through the justice system and not just being blasted on the internet.”
When it comes to investigations, however, vigilante groups and the police may not see eye-to-eye.
Surrey Creep Catchers found themselves in the news back in 2016, when they incorrectly identified an RCMP officer as a child predator.
That accusation prompted B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Morris to comment on the vigilante groups.
“They don’t know what kinds of undercover operations, what kinds of investigations are already underway by the police. And the fact they would intervene in one of those situations by doing what they do could jeopardize the investigation.”
And that intervention remains the most contentious issue.
Vigilante groups like Creep Catchers and Creep Hunters operate in a legal grey-area – investigating in ways police can’t due to entrapment laws.
READ MORE: Surrey Creep Catchers facing third lawsuit
Many law enforcement officials believe that’s an alarming prospect, but Brady considers it a strength.
“We’re able to do this in a way that they can’t because we’re not bound by the same laws. Because if law enforcement were able to do this the same way that we do it, they might be bound to entrapment laws.”
Brady says their lack of authority gives them the freedom to find predators themselves.
“If I was law enforcement, if I had any type of authority at all, then it could be entrapment, but we’re not actually able to make an arrest.”
However, that’s cold comfort to law enforcement agencies.
In their statement regarding Laforge’s arrest, Surrey RCMP added that they do not support or condone vigilantism in any form, a sentiment shared by many other agencies.