(Black Press file photo)

Surrey RCMP provide summer safety tips as school lets out

Police say they will continue to ‘proactively engage’ with youth in a number of programs this summer

As the school year comes to a close for tens of thousands of Surrey students, Mounties have issued a message to parents that includes tips for summer safety.

“Building strong relationships and a positive rapport with youth is a high priority for the Surrey RCMP, all year round,” the message states.

“In collaboration with the Surrey School District and City of Surrey, the Surrey RCMP Youth Unit and Surrey Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) will continue to proactively engage with youth in a number of programs and events throughout the summer. These include cultural, sporting, and outdoor activities, as well as field trips and day camps for at-risk youth. Youth Unit officers will also extend their outreach to locations youth frequent in the summer such as recreation centres, parks, and malls. SGET officers will also present their anti-gang presentation ‘Shattering the Image’ to youth and community groups over the summer,” it adds.

Surrey RCMP provides these safety tips for parents:

Imitation firearms

BB guns, pellet guns, and airsoft pistols can pose significant problems for both the police and the community. Since it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between a real and imitation firearm, all calls concerning a possible firearm will draw a considerable police presence. Officers respond assuming the firearm is real until it can be proven otherwise. As a result, parents should be aware that any imitation firearm is not simply a ‘toy’, despite its intended use. Think carefully before deciding to purchase one for your child and ensure your child clearly understands the proper use and potential dangers. Ensure you both know the legal requirements for the ownership, safe use, transportation and storage of certain types of air guns. Imitation firearms should only be used at designated areas, gun ranges, or on private land. They should also be kept out of sight and locked in a secure case to prevent misunderstandings, accidents, or thefts. For more information, visit the Canadian Firearms Program website.

Drug use

The threat of illicit drugs being mixed with fentanyl or carfentanyl continues to be a significant danger. Just a tiny amount of these very powerful prescription drugs can cause serious harm or death. Fentanyl is a primary ingredient in fake oxycodone and Percocet tablets and can easily be mixed with ecstasy or MDMA. These types of drugs are popular at parties, concerts and festivals that many youth attend. As a parent, don’t assume your child is not experimenting with illicit drugs or thinking about trying them. Keep an open dialogue and an eye on your child’s activities, mood and friends. For more information, visit the Fraser Health Authority’s website.

Online safety

On average, our Youth Unit investigates several files per week that involves youth and social media or the internet. These files include cyberbullying, sexting, and uttering threats. It is important to be aware of your child’s online activities, and to work with them on setting boundaries and acting responsibly online. Does your teen know all the people following them on Instagram or SnapChat? Are they sharing photos with people they’ve never met when playing games online? Be familiar with social networks your child may be using and the friends they are communicating with online. Discuss appropriate privacy settings with your child and ensure they understand the consequences of things like sharing explicit photos. There are many online resources available for parents including: Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Surrey Safe Schools, and Protecting Surrey Schools Together (PSST).

Outdoor events

The summer season brings many opportunities to take younger children to outdoor events with large crowds. In the excitement, it can be easy for family members to become separated, and it is not uncommon for our officers to respond to multiple missing persons incidents. Make a plan with your family in case of separation that includes a pre-arranged meeting place and some form of identification. On the day of the event, take a photo of your child with your phone so you have an accurate description of them should they go missing. Most of all, keep a close eye on children and stay close together.

Additional Resources

Looking to keep your young person further occupied and engaged this summer? There are lots of programs and activities available throughout the City of Surrey, including day camps and free things to do in the community.

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