EDITORIAL: Crime in Surrey is what it is

In an ideal world, crime would not be a political football. Then again, in an ideal world, there would be no crime.

After Saturday’s "Rally 4 Change," Surrey First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner’s camp fired off a press release urging her political rivals to not make hay over the question of public safety during this civic election campaign.

Public safety, of course, is a political issue. People want to know under whose leadership their streets might be safer and more livable. And all political camps, including the independents, are weighing in.

The fact is, politicizing the issue in unavoidable. Woe to the politician who steps over the line into the realm of the crass.

Nobody likes someone who capitalizes on the misfortune of others. That’s something pretty much everybody can agree upon.

Hepner claims "a lot of people" are "jockeying for position, taking shots at one another, trying to score political points off family tragedies…"

Don’t do it, she says, and her argument has considerable merit. But be it her intention or not, by taking the high road, and therefore appearing righteous in the process, Hepner has political points to score. And this, of course, is engaging in politicization. The message is, Hepner has class, not crass.

Meanwhile, her Kumbaya press release also demonizes the unnamed who would dare try to "score political points" off the misery of others. Not Hepner — others.

Really, criminal law is in the bailiwick of federal and provincial politicians, not mayors and councillors. Civic level politicians may have more clout than regular citizens when it comes to lobbying for legislation to be changed, but that’s about it.

Sadly, Surrey’s next mayor, like Dianne Watts, will no doubt find his or herself fielding calls from reporters after the Corrections Branch releases a dangerous convict into our community. It happened at least twice on Watts watch. In Narinder Wasan’s case, Watts wasn’t even told where the high-risk sex-offender would live in Surrey.

She was baffled why authorities "let him loose" in a city with more children per capita than anywhere else in B.C., and vowed to "take this up" with both federal and provincial justice ministers.

That was back in January. Seven months earlier, Raymond Lee Cassie was released into Surrey.

It’s important to keep in perspective, during this civic election campaign, that the real power for change lies with higher levels of government.

But as for politicization, sadly, that’s a given.

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