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Red Deer RCMP offer crime prevention tips for the holiday season

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Red Deer, Alberta – While the Christmas season is intended to be a time of joy and celebration, for many criminals it also provides unique opportunities for more Grinch-like behaviour. Red Deer RCMP offer some practical crime prevention tips to help you ensure your holiday season isn’t marred by theft, damage and other criminal activity.

 Protect yourself while shopping – thieves hang out in parking lots looking for easy opportunities

·         Be careful with purses and wallets – carry your purse under your arm and keep wallets in an inside pocket. Never leave purses or wallets in a vehicle.

·         Stow shopping bags in the trunk of your vehicle or out of sight to discourage smash and grab thefts.

·         If you store shopping bags in your vehicle then go back inside to continue shopping, move your vehicle – thieves looking for smash and grab opportunities will think you’ve left.

·         Load your packages into your trunk or otherwise out of sight before you leave one business, not when you get to the next one.

·         Never leave cash, electronics, garage door openers or valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.

·         Stay alert to your surroundings and be aware of the people around you. Look around your vehicle as you approach it.

·         Always lock your vehicle and close the windows, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes.

·         Never leave vehicles unlocked and running, and never hide spare keys inside your vehicle.

 

Protect your mail

·         Arrange to have packages delivered to a trusted neighbour if you won’t be home to receive them.

·         Check your mail daily – theft of mail increases over the holidays as thieves look for cards with cash or gift cards inside.

Protect your home

·         Avoid displaying gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.

·         Break down large packaging and dispose of it discreetly – don’t advertise to thieves that you’re the proud owner of new electronics or other tempting items.

·         Always lock your home’s doors and windows, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes.

 

Travelling this holiday season?

·         Stop newspaper and mail deliveries and have someone shovel your sidewalks while you’re away.

·         Give a spare key to a trusted friend or neighbour and let them know how to reach you while you’re away.

·         Tell a trusted neighbour you’re going to be away and ask them to call police immediately if they see suspicious activity on your property.

·         Place lights on timers and set them to turn off and on at different times.

·         Invite a neighbour to park in your driveway or have a friend move your vehicle if you left it at home.

 

Red Deer RCMP send warm wishes to Red Deerians for a safe and happy holiday season, and thank citizens for their continued support in reporting suspicious and criminal activity to the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575.

Read more about area crime on Todayville.com. 

 

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Alberta

Alberta spiritual community leader charged with four counts of sexual assault

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Photo from Johnderuiter.com

Edmonton – A self-styled spiritual leader has been charged with four counts of sexual assault stemming from separate occasions between 2017 and 2020.

Police say Johannes de Ruiter, the leader of an Edmonton group known as the College of Integrated Philosophy or the Oasis Group, was arrested Saturday.

Edmonton police allege that de Ruiter, who is 63, would tell certain female members that he was directed by a spirit to engage in sexual activity with them, and that doing so would provide them with the opportunity to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

The group operated out of a building in an industrial area in northwest Edmonton from 2007 to 2021.

Before his arrest, de Ruiter was holding meetings at an office building in St. Albert, Alta., and would host spiritual retreats out of a campground near Smith, Alta., a hamlet more than 200 kilometres north of Edmonton.

Police say in a news release that investigators believe there may be additional victims and are encouraging them to come forward to police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2023.

 

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Crime

LA mass shooting suspect kills 10 near Lunar New Year fest

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By Andrew Dalton in Monterey Park

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club following a Lunar New Year celebration, setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the fifth mass killing in the U.S. this month.

Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday that the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park.

Meyer said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He said officers then went into the ballroom and found victims as firefighters treated the wounded.

Meyer gave no description of the male suspect or the weapon he used, or why police gave no information on the shooting for hours while the shooter remained on the run. He also said police were investigating another incident in the nearby city of Alhambra to see whether it was connected.

Meyer said it’s too early in the investigation to know if the gunman knew anyone at the ballroom or if whether it was a hate crime.

The Lunar New Year celebration had attracted thousands.

Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people that sits at the eastern edge of Los Angeles. The majority of its residents are Asian immigrants or their descendants, most of them Chinese. The dance studio in downtown Monterey Park is just a few blocks from city hall on its main thoroughfare of Garvey Avenue, which is dotted with strip malls that are full of small businesses whose signs are in both English and Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are both widely spoken, Chinese holidays are celebrated, and Chinese films are screened in the city.

The tragedy marked not just the fifth mass killing in the U.S. since the start of the year but also is the deadliest since May 24, 2022 – when 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.

Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told The Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.

The people said to Choi that there was a shooter with a gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told The Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at the dance club that night when the shooting started. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.

The friend then fled to Wei’s home at around 11 p.m., he said, adding that his friends told him that the shooter appeared to fire indiscriminately with a long gun.

The celebration in Monterey Park is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California. Two days of festivities were planned but officials canceled Sunday’s events following the shooting.

___

Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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