Last spring, Saint Paul was temporarily terrorized by a bear lumbering into city limits. The city limits the bear wandered into had something of a crime problem, not to mention a police understaffing problem. I had to wonder if street crime in those areas dropped while the bear made its rounds. You’re a criminal, you’re out skulking, you’re about to break that window or jimmy that door.. and holy crap! A Bear!
The bear did no property damage, and did not maul anyone. It just wandered around, doing its thing. Unfortunately, it was more efficient for the DNR to shoot the bear than to relocate it.
This leads me to my latest crackpot theory: arm the bears.
At least, if they wander into city limits, let ’em. The possibility of getting mauled by a bear sounds like one of the best crime deterrents ever. Set up little habitats in high crime areas where bears can hang out, maybe have a little canned sardine or leftover muskie, and then let them just have at. If they get a place to go for food and sleep, it minimizes the property damage they might do elsewhere. If that’s still a concern, just set up the habitat a little too close to that hard-to-bust crack house and let the bear take care of it. The most violent criminals shoot people indoors. Bears can get the random street crime riff raff that run up the paperwork.
With their habitats converted into agriculture and industry, these among many other animals are finding new ways and places to live. Just as the city became part of evolution – a very natural process – these animals are evolving by adapting to cities themselves. I think any bear can make a wonderful contributing member of society; I don’t get this concept of humans being the only members of society’s club.