SURREY â€” The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association has conducted a survey with the goal of creating a "Business Connect" program hoped to increase safety in the area and to provide "constructive criticism" for the RCMP.
A total of 60 businesses in the BIA’s area were surveyed, 73.7 per cent of which participated.
The survey collected information on businesses’ experiences with crime and reporting. It found 80 per cent of those surveyed had experienced a crime, with the most common being break-ins. Of those, a handful mentioned that the crimes had occurred a few years in the past, and that they had noticed improvement in recent years.
Break and enter was the most common (27 incidents), followed by theft (23), open drug use in the area (20), and a tie between drug dealing and vandalism/graffiti (19).
Most of the crimes brought the attention of police, and businesses were asked to rate the experience on a five-point scale. Most respondents rated the experience as "Good."
Those who did not report crimes were asked why, and the most common answer was that they did not believe the offence was serious enough. Others said they thought police were too busy or deemed it too much of a hassle.
Businesses were also asked what types of support they would like to see from law enforcement. Overwhelmingly, the answers were increased bike, vehicle patrols (35) and foot patrols (36). Those surveyed also indicated that an increased police presence deters crime and makes community members feel safer. Many respondents also expressed interest in some sort of alert system, to inform businesses if an incident occurs in the area.
The BIA plans to create a variety of materials, including an incident-report checklist; pamphlets on panhandling, bylaws and how to discourage and report graffiti; a ‘what to do during and after a robbery’ poster; a window sticker, and a report-crime key tag.
An email alert system is also in the works, which will let businesses know when something occurs in their area.
Businesses were surveyed in nine "pockets" in the area, including Whalley’s Corner in the 13500-block of King George Boulevard, the area around Surrey Urban Mission Society, at 108th Avenue and King George, the Dell Shopping Centre, the two-level building containing Whalley Optical, the liquor store mall on the west side of King George around 108th Avenue, the building containing Taste of Africa in the 10600-block of King George, the offices in the BIA’s building, the Olympia Pizza mall around 103 Civic Plaza and the mall in the 10200-block of King George.