The Grinch tried to steal packages from a house in Cloverdale Dec. 13, but was thwarted by Linda Annis and little Cindy Lou Who.
Annis, the executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, set up the media event to highlight preventative tips to help stop crime this Christmas season.
“With a little forethought, we can do a lot to keep ourselves safe from Christmas crooks,” said Annis. “We especially have to thwart porch pirates who follow delivery trucks and steal packages within minutes of delivery.”
Annis shared several safety tips (see full list at end of story), such as asking neighbours to grab your packages for you if you’re not home, putting gifts in your trunk rather than on your back seat, and not leaving your garage door opener in your car.
“It’s very easy for a thief to smash a window and grab something from your back seat.”
Annis said “porch pirates” often follow delivery vehicles around and steal packages from the front doors of homes when they see that no one is home.
“(They) love the stuff you paid for and conveniently left for them on your porch. Did you really leave it for hours, so crooks could pick it up?”
She said it’s a good idea to connect with neighbours and offer to pick up packages from their front step when they’re not home, while at the same time asking neighbours to pick up yours.
She also said people need to be mindful of what they post on social.
“Why did you post all those pictures from your New Year’s holiday in Hawaii, while burglars scrolled and scrolled their phones to see who’s not home?”
As part of the announcement and photo op, Annis and little Cindy Lou tug-of-warred with the Grinch over a present.
Annis hoped little Cindy Lou could help convince people to not to be so complacent. She said if people take preventative measures, crime can be greatly reduced.
“If you see a crime in action, call 9-1-1 or the local police,” added Annis. “And if you have information about what nefarious deeds somebody’s up to, but want to remain anonymous, call us at Crime Stoppers by phone, online, or through our ‘P3’ smartphone app.”
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers tips for a safe holiday season
Tips: at home
1. So many packages, so many porches. Easy pickings! If you’re not able to watch for your delivery, ask neighbours to help watch. You can return the favour for them too.
2. Close your blinds and have home video security cameras watch for deliveries and crooks. Feed the images to your smartphone. Maybe you’ll spot a crook stealing your Christmas lawn display.
3. Think twice before clicking “yes” on that online shopping cart. 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.
4. On vacay? Maybe think about posting that selfie as a “#latergram”. Remember, your post tells the whole world you’re not at home. Hope you have a good home security package!
5. 65-inch TV just in time for Super Bowl? Great, but hide all that cardboard until you recycle it. Boxes from expensive gifts “outside” your house tell thieves the expensive gift can be found just “inside”.
6. 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.
Tips: downton and at the mall
1. Your car is not supposed to be a mall for thieves. Before you lock up your car, leave nothing visible inside. Not even pocket change or empty bottles or cans.
2. Keep it “light”. 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 from something in the car, considers that an open invitation to come check out your garage!
4. Watch your pockets in the mall – Keep purses and wallets where you can keep track of them and thwart pickpockets who look to take advantage while jostling with holiday crowds.