Coquitlam RCMP release clarification on reported abduction attempts

Coquitlam, BC – Yesterday the Coquitlam RCMP issued a news release aimed at addressing an increasing number of social media posts that have raised fears in our community. We regret that the use of the term ‘rumours’ angered some and has left others feeling dismissed.

To clarify; any direct report of an attempted abduction that is made to the Coquitlam RCMP is taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly. When we ask you to avoid spreading rumours, we are referring specifically to someone who is not a witness or victim and then shares social media posts written by someone else. Those third-party reports are rumour because there has been no attempt to verify or corroborate the facts.

Our intention in releasing this information is to address the most concerning claims in those social media posts- especially calls for people to arm themselves. We have heard from people who might be afraid to go for a jog, work a night shift, or walk down the street on their own. We want to assure those people that your community is safe because there is no information to date that supports a spike or trend in attempted abductions.

Clarification on reported abduction attempts
Clarification on reported abduction attempts

We will continue to prioritize and investigate any reported abduction attempt as we would any serious public safety issue. If there is any evidence of a heightened risk, or a need for you to be extra-careful, we will let you know straightaway as we have in the past.

We continue to ask everyone to report any suspicious incidents immediately and directly to police, rather than on social media, so that our officers can gather evidence and determine what occurred. Those reports are shared with our crime analysts, Frontline officers, intelligence officers and proactive units like our crime reduction unit, bike and foot patrol officers. These combined efforts are key in determining the facts and keeping people safe.

We also ask that our citizens remain vigilant and take the steps necessary to reduce risks and enhance their personal safety.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings

Avoid distractions (like your phone and earbuds) while you are walking or driving

Avoid confrontations over driving behaviour or parking spots

Wear bright clothing and obey traffic safety laws

Walk with family or in pairs when in isolated areas

Call police immediately if you feel unsafe or see a crime in progress

We remain committed to investigating all reports and sharing information with the public in order to address public safety concerns and keep our communities safe.

File # 2021-3292

Coquitlam RCMP

BACKGROUND

Police ask people to stop spreading internet abduction rumours

Coquitlam

2021-02-06 19:41 PST

File # 2021-3292

Important: Unproven stories that appear on Facebook, TikTok or Twitter should not be trusted.

Coquitlam RCMP has seen a growing number of social media rumours about abduction attempts and aggression towards women in the Tri Cities area. Some of the ‘reports’ say that a white van, or another suspicious vehicle, followed a woman and thus the driver was attempting an abduction.

“Coquitlam RCMP has received one official report and seen several other online posts,” says Corporal Michael McLaughlin with Coquitlam RCMP. “We have an open mind, but so far there is no evidence to support that any abduction attempt has actually happened. If we see any real risk we will let the public know. In the meantime, we are asking you to stop spreading unproven rumours. Those rumours are scaring people.”

“We’ve seen people drawing connections between situations and investigations that are completely unrelated and encouraging each other to carry weapons as a result,” says Corporal McLaughlin. Please don’t carry weapons, and don’t try to draw conclusions about crimes based on very basic information.

Police would like to remind people that there are many reasons that a vehicle might drive slowly in their neighbourhood.

Anyone who is concerned about personal safety can follow these guidelines:

Be alert and aware of your surroundings

Avoid distractions (like your phone and earbuds) while you are walking or driving

Avoid confrontations over driving behaviour or parking spots

Wear bright clothing and obey traffic safety laws

Walk with family or in pairs when in isolated areas

Call police immediately if you feel unsafe or see a crime in progress

If you think you have been the victim of an abduction attempt, or you think you saw one, please call your police of jurisdiction right away. The Coquitlam RCMP non-emergency number is always open at 604-945-1550. Report any crime in progress to 9-1-1.

Coquitlam RCMP

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