The Abbotsford Police Department was hoping to make a few headlines by sending Christmas card to criminals with a picture of Santa in tactical gear -- but the message is drawing a lot more attention than expected.

The card, which featured Police Chief Bob Rich as a machine gun-toting St. Nick, was featured Tuesday morning on Live with Kelly and Michael, a daytime talk show based in New York City.

“I like the message and I do like the police chief dressed as Santa, but the gun is a little frightening to me,” co-host Kelly Ripa said while holding a picture of the card.

The unique anti-crime strategy was also covered by the UK-based Daily Mail newspaper and on the Huffington Post.

Amid the glare of international media attention, Abbotsford police said they stand by their decision to distribute the card to more than 60 known offenders in the community.

“Certainly when you start getting contacts from outside the country and throughout North America, it’s a little bit more than we bargained for,” said Const. Ian MacDonald. “But it’s all good, it’s still an extension of what we have stood by for some time which is people need to make good choices and if the police department can assist in that process, we are going to do it.”

The campaign was also supported by Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman, who said he agrees with the image on the front of the card and the message inside.

“I support this initiative totally,” said Banman. “It’s unconventional but that’s why we were able to go from the most murderous capital in Canada to one of the safest cities. We think outside the box and I believe in the message the chief sent.”

The additional text on the inside of the card states, “We believe it is never too late to make a better choice for your life. For the sake of your family & for your own sake, consider 2013 the year you choose a new & better life. Make your New Year’s resolution now! We’re here to help.”