Surrey RCMP Sgt. Mandeep Atwal at Guildford Town Centre on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 for the launch of “Project Mistletoe.” The initiative aims to deter Grinches. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey RCMP Sgt. Mandeep Atwal at Guildford Town Centre on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 for the launch of “Project Mistletoe.” The initiative aims to deter Grinches. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey RCMP launches ‘Project Mistletoe’ to curb Grinches

Cops explain the dos and don’ts when it comes to Christmas shopping

Surrey RCMP are reminding people of the dos and don’ts when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Earlier this week, Surrey RCMP launched “Project Mistletoe,” an annual initiative, to help deter Grinches and other property crimes.

“We’re primarily focused on personal robberies, theft from vehicles,” explained Sgt. Mandeep Atwal.

“Thefts from stores, in addition to impaired driving. Usually, these activities are taking place in shopping centres, transit hubs.”

Atwal noted that “smash-and-grabs take a matter of seconds.”

“A thief or Grinch will identify a vehicle full of valuables, either in the front seat or in a visible location, smash the window and within seconds they’re gone.”

At the launch of Project Mistletoe, Surrey RCMP had a vehicle on-site that showed some of the common mistakes people make, such as loose change, bags, gifts, coats and other items that are visible.

“People often need to be reminded to continue to lock up their valuables, don’t leave it in visible places so thieves can break into your vehicle and take off with your stuff.”

Atwal added storing valuables in the trunk, or taking it with you, is “probably the best way to deter these criminals.”

The Surrey RCMP’s Mobile Street Enforcement Team, Community Response and Traffic units are working together “to ensure the success of this initiative,” according to a release from Const. Sarbjit Sangha.

Const. Sarbjit Sangha

Meantime, Sangha also provided tips for when it comes to online Christmas shopping.

“Always make sure that you have a tracker on your package so you know when it’s arriving,” she said. “And if you’re not going to be home, maybe have a neighbor pick it up for you or have it delivered to another place where it will be easily picked up.”

Other tips for online shopping include:

• Don’t leave mail in your mailbox. Collect your mail promptly after delivery;

• Avoid sending cash or gift cards in the mail;

• Plan ahead, if you’ll be away, let Canada Post hold your mail until you return or have a neighbor collect your mail;

• Ask a neighbour to collect your mail, flyers and newspapers; and

• Install timers in different areas of your house to turn lights on and off and different times.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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