Thieves like the pool too

It seems like a regular occurrence that police contact the media with warnings about theft at recreation facilities...

It seems like a regular occurrence that police contact the media with warnings about theft at recreation facilities and the misfortune that can sometimes befall guests.

In the world of theft, swimming pools, gyms and other recreational facilities appear to be high on the hit list. It’s not unusual to hear on a regular basis about all sorts of valuables being stolen from lockers at recreational facilities.

Although critics often wonder how thieves can get into and out of such places without being caught, keep in mind places like washrooms, change rooms and tub areas either have few cameras and staff due to privacy concerns, or cannot have electronic surveillance at all due to environmental considerations like moisture.

But the best way to prevent crime is through education and prevention. Anyone who attends recreational facilities should automatically be aware that thieves target such areas. Don’t make it easy for the thieves.

RCMP recently provided some very good advice to prevent theft at recreation facilities and make a thief’s job very difficult: Thieves typically feed off of crimes of opportunity. To reduce the risk of your valuables being targeted consider these tips. Bring only the items you require when visiting the recreational centre. Where necessary to have your wallet, cell phone, keys or other such items, utilize the lockers which are located in plain view of staff and users of the centre. You may also consider keeping such valuables with you either on your person or close by in a backpack or gym bag where you can keep an eye on your belongings. Credit cards, cash, jewelry and other such valuables should be left at home, bringing only what is necessary for your trip to the centre.

Good advice.

Counterfeit is alive and well

RCMP in Alberta noted last week that counterfeiting is alive and well despite the fancy polymer bank notes Canada is famous for.

According to a police press release, “RCMP and GIS would like the public to be aware of an increase in the usage of counterfeit currency in the City of Airdrie. Specifically $50 and $100 Canadian bills have been used, often targeting small businesses.

“The RCMP ask that business owners take the steps to check currency and call the RCMP if they suspect counterfeits. Business owners have a right to refuse any currency they suspect to be counterfeit.”

Counterfeiters tend to pass large bills, such as $100 notes, and then attempt to purchase something relatively cheap with it, like a bottle of pop or $20 gift card. Then they receive authentic money as change.

Much ado was made when the new polymer bills were introduced in 2011 and onwards, touting the fact the plastic notes were counterfeit proof. It’s always a mistake to underestimate criminals (some years back the provincial government thought it could outwit thieves with Alberta’s new credit card-style driver’s licenses which were said to be “copy-proof”… so the thieves simply broke into registry offices and stole the license-making machines). It wasn’t long after the bills were introduced, by 2013, that criminals had already been trying to fake the money, including clear windows in the paper. Apparently some of the counterfeit money found in Alberta recently was simply photocopied paper that had been cut apart with a clear plastic insert added,

Some of the counterfeit is amateurish, as recent bills have shown. But some of the counterfeit showing up in British Columbia by 2013 was rather professionally made. Sgt. Diana McDaniel of the New Westminster police was quoted in local media as describing counterfeit bills as “very well done.”

Some of the best security features the polymer bank notes have include raised ink in multiple places, the large clear window, a metallic symbol in the window, a maple leaf border around the window, a metallic portrait in the window and transparent leaves in the window.

If you want to see the security features explained in detail, go to the Bank of Canada’s website and do a search for “security features.”


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