PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — The City of Prince Rupert is hoping a sign warning would-be hitchhikers of the potentially deadly consequences of begging a ride will make them think twice before getting into a strange car.
The city wants to erect a sign similar to the one near Terrace that reads “Is it worth the risk?,” a reference to the more than two dozen women who have vanished or been found dead in the area over the last 25 years.
The latest victim, Tamara Chipman, went missing Sept. 21, 2005.
Police have refused to say a serial killer is at work.
Mayor Jack Mussallem said he expects the sign to be erected within the next few months.
At more than two metres high, it will be taller than most structures on the highway, he said.
There are a couple of different designs in mind, but nothing has been finalized yet.
“That’s because it’s not just a local initiative, but a regional one,” said Mussallem.
The city has sent letters to the surrounding First Nations communities and the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District, asking for assistance in funding the project.
So far there has been no response, but Mussallem said he believed it was just a matter of time.
Lax Kw’alaams elected chief, John Helin, said his community would certainly support the initiative, but was surprised to hear about it.
“It’s the first I’ve heard about it,” said Helin of the planned sign.
“I think we do a lot of traveling on the highway and the members 1/8of lax Kw’alaams 3/8, as do I, think it’s important that everyone is aware of it,” he added.
Christine White, executive director of the North Coast Transition Society, said any way to get the message of danger out to women thinking of testing their luck is a good idea.
“It lets women know that there is a killer out there on the road and if you hitchhike, you don’t know who that person can be.”