Linda Annis recently offered a message for holiday shoppers: don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas or your Christmas cheer.
Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, made her annual crime-free holiday remarks at a home in Cloverdale Dec. 5.
“It’s an especially important message as 2023 ends, with concern over our personal safety on the streets at an all-time high, and growing property crime affecting local businesses all over B.C. like never before,” Annis, who is also a Surrey city councillor, said in a press release after the event.
Annis, the Grinch, and little Cindy Lou Who teamed up to stage safety scenarios. Their efforts helped illustrate the dos and don’ts for the holidays as it pertained to shopping, both at stores and online.
“Porch pirates, parking lot B&Es during shopping trips, and online fraud are among things to watch for this holiday season,” Annis explained. “If you see a crime in action, call 9-1-1 or the local police.”
She added if anyone has information about “what nefarious deeds” criminals are up to, and they want to keep their anonymity, they can telephone Crime Stoppers, use the P3 smartphone app to report crime anonymously, or visit solvecrime.ca.
She said an individual’s anonymity is guaranteed by the Supreme Court of Canada. And one who reports a crime will never be questioned or called in to testify.
“Street crime and things like smash-and-grab shoplifting have worsened to the point where we saw the creation this year of the Save Our Streets coalition, of which Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is one of the founding members,” Annis said. “This growing group of community safety groups, local businesses, and organizations from around B.C., are urging immediate and coordinated government action on crime.”
Annis ended her remarks with a few red hot, Grinch-thwarting tips to help prevent the onset of some Christmas blues.
1.) Don’t leave easy pickings for porch pirates If no one’s home to watch for your delivery, ask neighbours to help watch. You can return the favour for them too.
2.) Think twice before clicking “yes” on that online shopping cart. Does the website you’re buying from, and the merch you buying, look legit? Maybe it’s cheaper that it really should be? Organized retail crime costs Canadians almost $5 billion a year, so buy from established businesses, not unknown sources. Shoplifted or stolen goods may be sold online or through flea markets, with the money often going to gangs dealing in drugs or illegal weapons.
3.) Large boxes outside your home are flags that tell crooks that large, valuable goodies are inside to steal. Boxes from large TVs or other expensive gifts should be stored out of sight until they are recycled.
4.) Consider registering your doorbell and home security cameras, where programs exist, to help police quickly locate recordings of neighbourhood crimes. This voluntary program could help police solve a break in or other crime at your house, or your neighbour’s.
5.) Etch it - mark your property in case it’s stolen. Ask local police to help etch your property with your driver’s license number. Also photograph valuables showing their make, model and serial number.
1.) Theft is getting worse, so don’t leave valuables visible in your car. Before you lock up your car to go shopping, leave nothing visible inside. Not even pocket change or empty bottles or cans. And don’t fill your car with gifts and then go back into more stores. Someone may be watching what you’ve bought.
2.) Keep it “lit”. Find a busy, well-lit section of the parking lot and lock your gifts out of sight in the trunk.
3.) Leave your garage door opener at home or in your pocket. A thief who takes your remote sitting from your console, and finds your address somewhere in the car, considers that an open invitation to come open your garage for a look.
4.) Watch your pockets in busy stores. Keep purses and wallets where you can keep track of them and thwart pickpockets who look to take advantage while jostling with holiday crowds.
Visit Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers for more info.