Police have a plan to address the recent gun violence in Surrey and Delta streets, and say although the community should be concerned, residents need not live in fear.
Part of that plan, announced at a press conference Monday, was to establish a special tip line, as well as speak with suspects believed to be involved in the violence, along with their family, friends and acquaintances.
Officials from local and regional police forces, along with Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, held a press conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey Monday, on the heels of the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Arun Bains on Sunday morning.
The young man’s death is believed to be linked to a series of brazen street shootings involving rival drug dealers that has plagued Surrey and Delta in recent weeks.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dan Malo said the situation is a complex one, “not solved with a simple injection of police resources.”
Rather, he said, it would take a change of behaviour and that the community outreach strategies being utilized were effective in the past during conflicts in other communities, such as Vancouver, Abbotsford and Kelowna.
“This is not a Surrey issue,” Malo said. “This is an issue of individuals that have chosen to take a particular area that they see is profitable and take it by force.”
He said while residents should be concerned, they shouldn’t be fearful, as the people involved are concentrating on one another rather than targeting the community at large.
Malo said the best thing citizens can do is report what they know.
“These individuals aren’t floating around our community unknown to anybody else,” he said. “They have family, they have friends, they have relatives, they have mothers, they have fathers, they have cousins. This is not a secret amongst some of the communities and we need to break into that in order to fix it.”
Police said last week the violence was linked to two groups of young feuding drug dealers in the South Asian and Somalian communities, most of whom have not been cooperative with investigators.
While offering condolences to the Bains family (the victim was the nephew of Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains) Hepner appealed directly to those involved to stop before more lives are lost.
“Take a sober look at the grim results of your actions. What happened yesterday is a fate that can befall you,” she said, adding the “code of silence” will only result in more heartache.
Surrey RCMP Supt. Bill Fordy said outreach so far has been helpful in advancing the investigation, and he again urged people with information to come forth.
“You can make an individual choice to stop the violence,” Fordy said. “Residents and children do not deserve to live in fear. Do the right and brave thing. Tell police what you know.”
Anyone with information can call the new 24-hour tip line at 604-915-6566.