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Bob Kronbauer: Why Richmond RCMP's controversial safety video is actually brilliant

The VPD might want to take notes.
A screengrab from a Richmond RCMP video regarding pedestrian safety

The Richmond RCMP is in the local headlines this week after people on social media have found yet another thing to get offended about.

Multiple Vancouver news outlets have run pieces about the blowback the detachment has received for a pedestrian safety video they released which shows a young person dressed in black, wearing headphones, absent-mindedly walking across a street while a man is driving while distracted.

As a news media publisher, I've been sitting back admiring the RCMP's work over the past 24 hours. I continue to see people share their tweet and have no choice but to tip my hat to whoever is in charge of the detachment's communications. This campaign is a home run.

Annual pedestrian safety messaging

Every year around this time the Vancouver Police Department sends media outlets a press release with similar messaging, encouraging pedestrians to make themselves visible as the days get shorter, while also reminding drivers to try to avoid killing people while looking at their phones.

It's one of the most boring story pitches we receive every fall, and we generally don't even cover it because almost nobody cares enough to read about it. 

With a boring message flipped on its head, the Richmond RCMP managed to have their sentiment of "please stay safe out there, folks!" twisted into "victim blaming" by angry people on Twitter, resulting in 5.7 million views of their video as of the time of this writing. 

But they've also pulled off quite the feat: People in Metro Vancouver are actually talking about...pedestrian safety. 

Police in Richmond are doing the heavy lifting for the VPD and every other police force in the region. And since they refuse to take their video down, it racks up more views.

Stay safe out there, folks. Please look both ways before crossing the street with headphones on, and don't drive distracted.