Canada
Greeting cards for Abbotsford, BC crooks

Abbotsford police are sending crooks Christmas cards this year, asking them to consider a different lifestyle.

MICHAEL MUI | QMI AGENCY

Gangsters, drug dealers and prolific offenders will receive a Christmas card from Abbotsford police this season, featuring an image of Santa Claus clad in tactical gear and bearing the greeting, "Which list will you be on next year?"

Const. Ian MacDonald said he hopes the several dozen recipients will choose to be "nice," and it shouldn't be too difficult a choice after seeing the card's gun-toting St. Nick, who also holds a day job as the Valley city's top cop.

"The front of the card is a bit provocative, but it's designed that way so people will read on and maybe reflect on the decisions they've made in the past," MacDonald said, adding it's all about making New Year's resolutions.

The recipients - some known by police to own firearms and other weapons - are asked to consider themselves and their families, and "make a better" lifestyle choice.

Each card includes a helpline number that crooks looking for change can call. The calls would be returned on a case-by-case basis and would typically be confidential, MacDonald said.

Laura Ballance, of the Laura Ballance Media Group public relations firm, said it's refreshing to see police messaging offenders directly.

"If this gets even one criminal to think about what they're doing ... I think it's a success," she said.

"People might say this is an ineffective use of tax dollars. I would argue the people offended by the images aren't the ones being targeted by the police."

The detachment, however, does have one admission to make. They "stole" the idea from a number of United Kingdom police detachments, MacDonald said. Across the pond, they use the cards to deter shoplifters.

Who knows? A little Christmas spirit might just work.

The helpline can be reached at 604-864-4777.

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