NANAIMO — In an attempt to combat increasing pedestrian accidents on poorly lit streets, Nanaimo RCMP will begin issuing reflective safety vests to people who commit break and enters.

“Pedestrian-vehicle incidents involving injury have tripled in the last two years,” RCMP spokesperson Nathan Poe told The Beacon. “Regardless of what crimes they may be committing, it’s important that we keep them safe on the streets.”

The new harm reduction program will be phased in over three years, and will cost $420 million per year.

RCMP say a conviction for break-and-enter is not required to participate in the program. Suspects found with stolen property, or who are in the process of robbing a home, will be provided with a safety vest and a leaflet reminding them that theft is a criminal offence.

“I think it’s a great idea” said convicted Cassidy burglar Jamison Fawkes. “I usually walk back home after I hit three or four houses. Sometimes that highway is pretty dangerous, especially when you’re on a bike with a little trailer.”