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KOM Community Policing Centre


“Build a Safer and More Connected Community Together!”

Safety Tips from James Morrison

Assistant Coordinator of Kerrisdale Oakridge Marpole Community Policing Centre 

Q: What are some of the common things people need to be aware of in the spring months for safety around our home/apartment area?

A: Some of the things people need to be aware of is that crime doesn’t stop because of the good weather, and that criminals don’t take vacations. Remember to remain vigilant and be aware what is normal and not normal in the community, and that most property crimes are crimes of opportunity – remove the opportunity, and remove the crime. Closing windows and doors when you’re not present is imperative to ensure your safety.

Q: What suggestions do you have for preparations in case of an emergency/natural disaster?

A: In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, remember that the first thing lost is proper communication, and that loved ones will always been your first concern. People aren’t always together when disasters hit, so have a plan in place of where and when you will meet the people that matter to you, or – if that is not possible – where you will be and who you will be with instead. Knowing that your loved ones are safe, and planning for their safety, is the best first step anyone can take in disaster preparedness.

Q: Are there scams that seniors should be aware of?

A: There are always scam artists looking to target society’s most vulnerable members. The most common are mail scams where the scammer asks for a small sum of money in return for a significantly larger sum later on, while other scammers seek to impersonate relatives or officials to defraud unsuspecting individuals. All of these are scams, and all of these seek to harm the intended victim. The best advice that can be given when it comes to scams is to never give money or personal information to anyone you don’t know or have not known for a long time, and always to ask for a second opinion from someone you trust. Police officers, and members of the Community Policing Centre, will always be willing to provide a second opinion to anyone unsure of whether or not they are being targeted by a scam.

Q: How do you suggest pedestrians become more visible in the evenings when out walking?

A: Wear light-coloured clothing – especially when it is dark out or there is bad weather. Reflective garments never hurt either.

Q: How do people report suspicious activity in a lane area?

A: If something looks wrong, trust your gut and call 9-1-1. The operators on the other end of the line are highly trained call-takers, so *never* assume that your call is unimportant or that you might be ‘wasting their time’. It is important to be able to accurately describe where the suspicious activity is taking place, as well as whatever suspects might be involved. Remember colour of clothing, average heights and builds, hair-colour, facial complexion, any items that are being carried, as well as direction of travel and speed of travel. If you see something suspicious that is non-life threatening and no suspect is present, call the VPD non-emergency number at 604-717-3321.

Q: Do you have some tips for pedestrians or motorists along the busy areas of 41st Avenue, and Arbutus/West Boulevard, East Boulevard areas?

A: Be aware of your surroundings and don’t take anything for granted – J-walking might seem like a faster way to cross the road, but is it really worth the risk when cars are on the road? Also – most importantly – keep your distractions to a minimum; so get off your phones!

Q: On more general topics, Why do you enjoy working with the citizens in the Kerrisdale, Oakridge, Marpole area?

A: I grew up in the area and many of my life-memories are tied to these communities. It is only natural that I care about the people, and try my best to make their memories of the communities good as well.

Q: Do you ever bring police dogs to work with you?

A: Every dog becomes a ‘police’ dog when it’s in the office!

Q: Is this a safe area of the city in general?

A: In general, yes – this part of the city is very safe. Don’t let that fool you, however, because there are still criminals lurking the neighbourhoods and there are still crimes taking place. Be vigilant, be aware, and know what is and is not normal for your community. A more aware community is a safer community and, in my experience, a happier one.

Q: What do you like most about the job in the KOM police office?

A: This job is fantastic in many ways. Here I can make a difference, help people, and get involved in my community all at once. As with any job, however, it is the people that really make it what it is, and I am privileged to work with great volunteers, great staff, and of course the men and women in uniform of the Vancouver Police Department.   I hope those are satisfactory answers to your questions!

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Thank you, James!