If you’re a geocacher then the chances that you’ve found a lamp post cache (LPC). For the uninitiated, LPCs are geocaches where the container is hidden in the base of a lamp post, typically under the liftable skirt on the base of the post. It’s actually a clever place to hide something — until you’ve found a couple of dozen at which point they become rather repetitive.
But, the problem isn’t that they’re repetitive (although Sonny of the PodCacher Podcast might disagree on that point!). The problem is that lamp posts with liftable skirts tend to be found in shopping mall parking lots and shopping mall parking lots are, technically, private property. Increasingly, shopping malls are installing video surveillance systems to watch over their property. So, if you go into a shopping mall’s parking lot for the sole purpose of finding a geocache, you are probably being observed.
And you’re probably trespassing, too.
Even if none of this is a deterrent, you might want to look at it from the security guards’ points of view. Some guy (you) walks up to a lamp post, fiddles with the base of it, probably removes something and then puts it back. At best, that will be treated as curious behaviour. At worst, you could be accused of vandalizing the lamp post or even planting a bomb.
There was a series of geocaches placed for a Go And Get ‘Em event in Ottawa sometime in the last year or two that included a few caches placed on shopping mall property. Go And Get ‘Ems (GAGs) and similar events see numerous geocachers head out to find as many geocaches placed for the event as they can in a short period of time. Naturally, this means that easy-to-find caches, like LPCs, will see a huge amount of traffic while the event is taking place. In the case of one such geocache placed in a shopping mall parking lot for a local event, this annoyed the landowner and the geocache “disappeared” shortly after the event started and geocachers were asked to leave if they were spotted.
So, one solution might be to only try such caches at night when the mall’s closed, right? Wrong.
Think about it: Now, not only are you probably trespassing, you’re also doing this at night, under the bright glare of the lights at the top of the pole you’re trying to be stealthy around, and you’re being recorded doing this. How inconspicuous can you be in the middle of acres of pavement with nothing around but your car?
Maybe a good New Year’s resolution for geocachers is to refrain from placing LPCs in shopping mall parking lots. There are lots of other places in the urban environment where you can hide a geocache.
Update: See what I did about an LPC (ex-GCQXR7) I had.