The Surrey RCMP kick off its annual ‘Operation Mistletoe’ on Wednesday (Dec. 7) outside Guildford Town Centre. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Crime prevention

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP’s Operation Mistletoe urges shoppers to stay vigilant to keep Grinches away

Police offer practical tips to protect gifts while shopping at local stores and online

The Surrey RCMP kicked off its annual Operation Mistletoe on Wednesday (Dec. 7) in a Guildford Town Centre parking lot to remind shoppers to protect their holiday gifts from thieves.

“Last thing we want to see is some opportunistic thieves come in and break car windows and steal the presents and be the Grinches of Christmas,” said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Manny Atwal.

If you have to leave your holiday gifts in the car, Atwal says police recommend you keep everything out of sight – preferably locked in the trunk.

And as always, Atwal reminds shoppers to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to Surrey RCMP, adding police will be patrolling the city’s major shopping districts and transit hubs during the holidays.

And when it comes to online shopping, Const. Sarbjit Sangha, Surrey RCMP media relations officer, is asking the public to take extra precautions when your online purchases are delivered to your home.

“Those are the opportunities that thieves look for and they steal our packages,” said Sangha.

Some thieves, she added, will follow delivery trucks through neighbourhoods and pick up the packages they just delivered. This is why it is important to know when your package is going to arrive and track it, said Sangha.

She also suggests making arrangements beforehand to ensure your package is not stolen, like getting the package delivered to work or to a friend’s house instead.

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 neighbour 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.

– With files from Lauren Collins

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