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Cold weather guru Cpl. Crisp returns for winter safety campaign

Cpl. Crisp is Surrey B.C.'s Cold Weather Safety Specialist. His quick wit and unparalleled cold weather advice helps keep residents safe during the winter months. Credit: Ryan George, Surrey RCMP

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In Surrey B.C., when the warm weather goes away, the car thieves come out to play.

Last fall, the detachment saw a spike in the number of "warmer uppers" or car thefts where people leave their vehicles running in their driveways, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition.

After 10 such calls on a chilly November morning, Surrey RCMP was frigidly fed-up.

"We thought, 'this is a totally preventable crime, what can we do to get the message across?' " says Carly Paice, a communications co-ordinator in Surrey.

So, the detachment decided to create a new position — and persona — to help combat seasonal spikes in crime. Media relations officer Cpl. Scotty Schumann donned a pair of aviator sunglasses, grew out his moustache and transformed into his alter ego: Cpl. Crisp, Cold Weather Safety Specialist.

"We wanted someone with some personality who could be a little bit cheeky — cheekier than we could be as our corporate account," says Paice. "I guess you could say Cpl. Crisp showed up at the right place at the right time to give us some inspiration."

It didn't take long for the detachment to realize Crisp's cool attitude was helping residents warm up to the idea of winter safety. Throughout the winter months, he gave a flurry of tips on everything from pedestrian safety to property crime to driving on slippery roads.

"This city is growing faster than an icicle melts in June and that means more potential cold weather crime and traffic collisions," says Crisp. "I thought Surrey could use a little down-home salt-of-the-earth type advice about cold weather safety from someone in the know."

Crisp helps combat winter crime and encourage winter safety via Surrey RCMP's social media channels. Even Commissioner Bob Paulson is a fan — he's re-tweeted and commented on several posts.

"Crisp's kind of a big deal around our detachment," says Paice. "Policing is quite a serious business by all accounts, but when there's that chance to take ourselves a bit less seriously while still getting the message out, it's much more effective."

This winter, he's back at the detachment to offer more tips to residents.

"The place kinda grew on me. I was happy to come back and rescue it from all the sun-worshippers and summertime slackers," says Crisp. "After all, winter isn't a season for me, it's an occupation."

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