RCMP monitoring vacant businesses, warn of COVID-19 scams

RCMP logo and police cars outside of Calgary on Friday, April 10, 2015. Mikaela MacKenzie / Postmedia Network

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Grande Prairie RCMP are ensuring that vacant businesses are protected during the pandemic and also warn of scams associated with COVID-19.

Cpl. Candace Hrdlicka said the decrease in pedestrian and vehicle traffic is allowing the police to focus on areas more susceptible to thefts and break-ins.

“With everything going on, we’re definitely continuing to examine what the status is within the community,” Hrdlicka said.

“Of course, there are some businesses that are closed right now, so that is something that we’re very much aware of and keeping an eye on.”

Police are advising businesses to double-check their security systems, have good lighting and post signage saying the property is monitored and visited on a regular basis.

Although no COVID-19 scams have yet been reported in Grande Prairie, RCMP say they are popping up around the province. Scams include unsolicited calls giving medical advice or requesting payment for testing results or medication.

On March 14, the Edson Food Bank was broken into with over $3,100 worth of grocery items stolen. Edson RCMP later arrested a 19-year-old male for the break-in.

Hrdlicka said local police have heard of no similar incidents occurring within the Grande Prairie area. She added that the increased foot traffic at grocery stores is not currently a concern.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Grande Prairie RCMP and other Alberta detachments are suspending all non-critical front counter services and limiting access to the public.

“We’re still completely up and running within the community, trying to maintain the same level of police servicing,” Hrdlicka added.

“Along with the rest of the general public, we are following the guidelines provided by the provincial and federal health authorities.”

Details about COVID-19 scams are available at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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