LETTER: We are at risk, and ‘Surrey Agreement’ needed

The Editor,

Re: "Community forum emphasizes need to end drug turf war," the Now, April 23.

I attended the April 21 forum at Tamanawis Secondary dealing with the current crime issues in Surrey.

I appreciate the work being done by our RCMP and know that this is a very trying time for all police departments investigating this matter. It is hard to get evidence and lay charges when there is a code of silence from both the victims and their families.

It was good to see Mayor Linda Hepner now willing to talk about crime issues in Surrey. If you do not talk about your problems, you are not working toward finding solutions. Still, I feel there’s a disconnect, and that resonated with the gentleman who told mayor and council that they need to get out of their palace and into our communities where we can see them actually involved with trying to find solutions to our community problems. He received the loudest applause of the evening.

I was encouraged by the story told by the young man brought in as an example of a success story for the youth-at-risk program administered by the school board.

On the other hand, another young man from the audience said he saw the pictures of the persons of interest posted in the paper by the RCMP and was not surprised at who they were. He went to school with them and everyone knew they were up to no good, so this tells me that there are many of them falling through the cracks. If fellow classmates knew they had chosen the wrong path, teachers certainly should have known, and it went unreported.

I do not want to hear one more time that the public is not at risk. When we have shootings throughout our neighbourhoods and streets in the middle of the day, we are at risk. Personally, if I had done my banking 15 minutes later a couple of weeks ago, I would have been right at the corner where bullets were flying.

When the City of Vancouver had crime problems in the 1990s, all levels of governments met, and the federal government came forward with millions of dollars to help them put together safe-injection sites, put in programs and beef up their police department. A document was put together called the Vancouver Agreement. For a year and a half now, Surrey community associations and groups have been requesting that the City of Surrey put together a multilevel governmental meeting so that we may find solutions to crime problems in Surrey — possibly our own Surrey Agreement.

Darlene Bowyer, Surrey