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More Firework Complaints For Diwali Than Halloween

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According to the Surrey RCMP, Diwali received more fireworks-related complaints this year than Halloween.

Diwali is a festival that is celebrated around the world, mostly by South Asians. It was celebrated on Sunday with a bang. The fireworks drew 147 complaints to the Surrey RCMP.

Meanwhile Halloween resulted in 121 fireworks-related complaints on Thursday.

Constable Richard Wright said the numbers were tracked “over the course of the day” for both festivities. “The bulk of it would be in the evening, because that’s when fireworks are set off. I don’t think there was a specific time constraint put on that stat. It would be during the evening of.”

On Halloween, police dispatchers received 359 calls for service during the nightshift. “That’s just nightshift, just Halloween night,” Sturko said.

Typically when there are no holidays and festivals going on, the Surrey RCMP receives about 125 to 260 calls in the evenings.

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Don’t fall for a coronavirus hoax…and if it’s criminal, Crime Stoppers offers rewards for tips that lead to arrests

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Misinformation abounds during the COVID-19 crisis, and scammers never rest either. For them, this is just one more opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting targets, especially elderly victims who may be more trusting.

With March being Fraud Prevention Month in B.C., Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers warns not only do the usual financial scams, cyber-fraud, fake CRA phone calls and other crimes remain all around us, they’re joined this year by coronavirus scams.

The Canadian Fraud Centre is maintaining a national running list of COVID-19 scams which so far includes:

  • Duct cleaning companies offering services or “special” filters to protect from COVID-19.
  • Utilility companies threatening to disconnect power for non-payment.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO) selling fake
  • lists of COVID-19 infected people living near you.
  • Offers of fake COVID-19 tests, which are only administered by health authorities.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada allegedly asking for your health card and credit card numbers for a COVID-19 prescription.
  • Charities like the Red Cross offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation.
  • People selling household decontamination services door to door.

“Fraud is as much a crime as any other, yet only five per cent of the tips Crime Stoppers receives relate to fraudulent crime,” says Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers. “Fraud costs Canadians millions of dollars and criminals shouldn’t get away with it. If you call us and pass on information on a fraudulent crime, we guarantee you will be totally anonymous, never go to court and could be eligible for a cash reward.”

Additional warnings have also been issued by international agencies including INTERPOL. Some examples:

  • Fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses – offers of masks and other medical supplies for sale have sprung up online. Unsuspecting victims who order from fraudulent ones never get their goods and see their money disappear.
  • Impersonating legitimate companies – using similar names, websites, email addresses and messages on social media platforms. This includes the World Health Organization (WHO) which has issued a warning of its own.
  • Fake charity appeals – attempts to get the recipient’s money allegedly to fund vaccine for children in China. There is no vaccine yet for the novel coronavirus.
  • Telephone fraud – Interpol says criminals may call pretending to be clinic or hospital officials and claim that a relative of the victim has the virus and needs money for medical treatment.
  • Phishing – emails claiming to be from national or global health authorities ask victims to provide financial details, or open an attachment containing malware.

An Ounce of Prevention – here are some additional tips from Interpol for those shopping online:

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering medical equipment or requesting your personal information for medical checks. Legitimate health authorities do not contact the general public in this manner.
  • Be aware of bogus websites – criminals will often use a web address which looks almost identical to a legitimate one, e.g. “abc.org” instead of “abc.com“.
  • Check out online reviews of a company before making a purchase.
  • Be wary if asked to make a payment to a bank account located in a different country than where the company is located.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, alert your bank immediately so the payment can be stopped.

About Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society and registered charity that offers rewards for anonymous tip information about criminal activity and provides it to investigators in the communities of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Anonymous tips may be provided though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3″ app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online at solvecrime.ca, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 different languages and will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim. Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards.

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Surrey Man Missing for Over 2 Weeks

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The Surrey RCMP is asking the public to help solve the disappearance of 66-year-old Allan McCrea.

McCrea was last seen on Sept. 23 in the 15900 block of Fraser Highway, near Fleetwood Park Village.

He is approximately 5’5″ tall, weighs about 170 pounds, has blue eyes and long, dark brown hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue denim shirt, a black jacket, and Sperry brand beige shoes.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.

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7-Eleven Canada’s Name Your Price Day Raises $63,547 For Food Banks Canada

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While summer comes to an end and the cooler temperatures begin to settle, Canadians are clearly still crazy for Slurpees as they helped to raise $63,547 by naming their price for a large Slurpee on 7-Eleven Canada’s Name Your Price Day. For 7-Eleven Canada’s sixth year supporting a Canadian charity, this year one hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to Food Banks Canada, supporting local food banks in 7-Eleven communities. To date, 7-Eleven’s Name Your Price Day has raised over $370,000 for Canadian local charities.

Slurpee fans from B.C. to Ontario showed their generosity on Thursday, September 19, but it was Manitoba residents who led the charge and donated the most for their Slurpee drinks. Manitoba’s success was largely due to the city of Winnipeg, which raised the largest amount of donations within the province.

Every $1 donated generates three meals through Food Banks Canada, meaning Slurpee fans provided 190,641 meals to families in need. These donations have a significant impact on individuals across 7-Eleven communities, who depend on support from their local food banks.

“Year over year we’re excited for the opportunity to enable our customers to make a difference in their communities with the simple act of purchasing a Slurpee” says Norman Hower, Vice President and General Manager of 7-Eleven Canada. “Slurpee fans have again demonstrated their generosity and commitment to their communities.”

For more information about Name Your Price Day, visit www.Slurpee.ca/nypd.

7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 66,000 7-Eleven stores in 17 countries, including 11,600 in North America. Find out more about 7-Eleven Canada at www.7-Eleven.ca.

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Fewer officers just tip of the iceberg

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Two officers per car shrinks force, unarmed community safety officers replacing real police, Surrey’s police numbers not in line with Vancouver’s

Surrey, BC: Plans for a Surrey Police Department not only reduce the number of officers from the current 843 to just 805, but the report sent to Victoria also contains example after example of a plan that shortchanges public safety in BC’s fastest growing city, says Councillor Linda Annis.

“The biggest shock was the overall reduction in the number of officers accompanied by an increase in costs,” noted Annis. “But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg because the report also contains other troubling plans and approaches that will not make Surrey safer.”

“To start with, the report’s budget is vague at best, with absolutely no details, something that should trouble every taxpayer. Then, there’s the idea of replacing police officers with unarmed community safety officers, something that was tried and rejected years ago because they often needed the support of frontline police officers when responding to calls. The fact is, we need 300 more sworn police officers for Surrey, particularly when you compare us to Vancouver.”

Annis said other items in the report that raise eyebrows include:

Number of Sworn Members Strength

  • The Surrey RCMP currently has 843 sworn members, with the RCMP backfilling any vacanciesresulting fromlong-term disability, vacation or the like from its larger regional contingent of officers. A Surrey Police Department with the proposed 805 officers will have similar vacancies, but with no obvious contingency to backfill. This proposed roll-back in Surrey’s policing numbers would never fly in Vancouver, something the Vancouver Police Department would never support in their city which already has 500 more officers than Surrey.

Wage Disparity

  • RCMP earn 15% – 20% less than municipal police. While the RCMP may become unionized at some point, this is not likely to happen over the next year or two. In addition, with more senior ranks, there is even a larger difference in compensation.

 Pensions

  • RCMP federal pensions are not portable to municipal police pensions, as a result the move to a municipal force will only be attractive to newer RCMP members or older members already eligible to collect their pensions.

 Police Board

  • The City of Surrey can already have a police board that is locally organized and sanctioned through the provincial government. Surrey does not need to wait for a municipal force, with a new board operating similarly to a municipal police board by setting the strategic direction of the RCMP in Surrey.

Running Parallel Police Departments

  • While the Mayor talks about running two parallel police departments during a lengthy transition, there are few details in the report. In fact, this idea has not been discussed or agreed to and there is nothing in the currentRCMPcontract detailing how a parallel approach might work or what its cost might be.
  • The report suggests bringing in members from other municipal police forces on a secondment basis during the transition. Assuming that could even be done, it means multiple policing agencies operating in Surrey with members who have no real day-to-day connection with the community.
  • In addition, there are no details on how to handle complex files which are currently being worked on by the RCMP, and how these files might be transitioned.

 Two Officer Cars

  • Using the municipal policing contract model means two officers per car, a Surrey Police Department would have 59 cars on the road at any given time, compared to 65 cars with the current RCMP, in a city the size of Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond combined. We need more police on the road, not fewer.

 Community Safety Officers

  • Community safety officers are not sworn police officers. They are not armed and do not have the same level of training required of a sworn officer. Their job is customer service, community outreach and quality of life issues. If issues escalate, it means calling in a sworn member, or two if it is a two-officer patrol car.

 Attracting New Members

  • When it comes to recruiting officers, there’s stiff competition across the region. One of the biggest questions not answered in the police report is about recruitment. A Surrey Police Department will look to have local officers who live and work in Surrey, but that will include attempting to hire officers already working in other police departments across the region, causing a disruption to overall policing in the Lower Mainland.
  • The largest number of officers ever trained by the Justice Institute (JI) was in 2010 when some 300 new members were graduated. Normally the JI’s capacity is less than 150 officers per year.

 IT Network

  • The current sophisticated information technology network is owned by the RCMP and is their intellectual property. The existing system will need to be completely replaced and has not been correctly budgeted for in the police report sent to Victoria.

 Budget

  • The report says the budget increase for a Surrey Police Department is 10.9%,  but there is a complete lack of documentation or back-up to support this increase.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves if this report and its contents make us safer, and frankly the answer is no,” added Annis. “Policing shouldn’t be political, and good policing should never be about the colour of the uniform. That said, there is nothing in this report to the province that gives me, or any taxpayer in our city, a sense that we will be safer creating a Surrey Police Department.”

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Surrey opens new West Village Energy Centre and Park

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Surrey, BC – The City of Surrey officially opened its new West Village Energy Centre and Park on Thursday evening. The state-of-the-art energy centre will be an integral part in improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing more competitive energy pricing for Surrey residents and businesses in City Centre.

“With the completion of the West Village Energy Centre, Surrey has taken a significant step forward in our journey to a renewable energy future,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Not only does the Energy Centre support the city’s carbon reduction goals, but it’s an innovative example of how we are greening the city’s developing downtown core. As City Centre continues its transformation into a vibrant, urban downtown core, we are ensuring the area will be an environmentally, sustainable urban centre.”

District energy systems represent a significant opportunity for cities to move towards climate-resilient, resource-efficient and low-carbon pathways. The City decided early on that district energy utility development must be aligned with community objectives and, by owning and oper­ating the district energy system as a municipal utility, the city would play the lead role in shaping its future.

With over 55 per cent of community-wide energy consumption concentrated in the buildings sector and buildings accounting for about 35 per cent of Surrey’s total community greenhouse (GHG) emissions, Surrey City Energy sets a progressive vision for a more prosperous, cleaner and healthier City Centre powered by a growing district energy network.

Surrey City Energy is key to establishing a renewable energy future for the city by:

  • Cutting community-scale greenhouse gas emissions
  • Generating heating and hot water more efficiently
  • Keeping energy affordable
  • Delivering energy security through sustainable, community-level energy solutions
  • Transitioning to local, low-impact renewable energy sources
  • Raising awareness of energy sustainability

Although district energy as a concept isn’t new, what sets Surrey City Energy apart is its ‘systems thinking’ approach to scaling up energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Planned as one of the largest systems in Canada, it will expand to meet projections for thermal energy demand and achieve targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

More energy centres, fuelled by an expanded range of renewable energy sources, will be added and the piping network expanded as heating demand increases. Over time, the district energy system will cover the entire City Centre area serving tens of thousands of households.

Learn more at www.surrey.ca/cityenergy and www.surrey.ca/parks.

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