As long as a handful of tourists keep acting like idiots, they’re going to get called out for it here – and stigmatize the others.
The latest in a wave of unwanted and damaging visits to the cabins at Hiorthhamn across from Longyearbyen occurred earlier this month when Torgeir Prytz found his outdoor grill area in shambles.
“I do not know who and why, but it was distinctly unpleasant to come to the cabin in the afternoon to find the barbecue area outside our cabin both used and destroyed,” he wrote in a post on a community Facebook page. “I would have liked to have had a talk with the person or people who did it, but it’s definitely no joke; you do not understand that one should respect other people’s property.”
“So instead it is best to encourage all cabin owners to make sure the doors and windows are locked so you do not get unwanted visitors. In addition, we have while on Hiorthhamn observed that moorings are frequently used by intruders (both private and guide companies). In such instances they should treat it as a straightforward matter and ask permission first since there are mobile numbers in large type on some moorings. And finally, it is necessary to know whether all cabin doors Hiorthhamn are locked or not.”
The immediate reaction was to question if security cameras are necessary. Per-Marius Teigen, in response, posted a link to a small 180-degree wi-fi camera and suggested “consider one or two like that on the cabin.”
“Saw strangers on the stairs at the neighboring cabin today,” he added. “Looked like they were only at the cabin to escape the rainy weather, but that was still people present on the steps on the cabin.”
While some cabin owners said they were OK with visitors stopping at cabins for certain reasons – taking shelter on a porch from the wind and/or rain when eating lunch, for example – they’d expect the tourists to leave no signs of their visit. Instead, they said, too many engage in activities such as using them for toilet shelters.
Most in the discussion agreed the problem is growing increasingly worse, but may be going unnoticed among many residents and officials because the incidents aren’t showing up in official crime statistics – suggesting cabin owners aren’t reporting them.