SURREY — The city’s top cop says he believes a statistical increase in assaults in Surrey might be due to more victims reporting crimes.
Last year Surrey recorded 3,530 assaults, a 19 per cent increase over the 2,972 assaults recorded in 2014. The number of sex assaults also increased by 40 per cent in 2015, with 308 reported cases compared to 220 the year prior.
“At first blush, that might cause you concern,” Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said. “But what I can tell you is that we have done significant outreach, significant community engagement.”
Fordy said that as a result of public safety forums and other meetings held throughout the city “more people are reporting.
“We know through Stats Canada that the vast majority of domestic violence victims, crimes taking place in houses, they don’t report,” he said. “So we are seeing an increase. It’s tough for any law enforcement agency to say whether or not domestic violence is increasing or not.”
Fordy said “significant energy” is being invested in the city to get people to report crimes.
“It’s something we are very aggressively trying to advance,” he said. “I would much rather have every person report their crime, and us be at capacity, than have people sitting in their homes, subject to violence or suffering in silence.”
Meanwhile, a “One Billion Rising Revolution” rally is being held Friday (tomorrow) in North Delta by the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR), from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Firehall Cente for the Arts at 11489 84th Ave.
The one billion figure is derived from United Nations statistics that one in three women will suffer physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse in their lifetime.
“The underreporting of domestic violence is a huge problem,” said Dr. Balbir Gurm, an organizer. “We hope members of the community will join with us at this event to show support and spread the word that domestic violence is not okay.”
Survivors are expected to tell their stories and representatives from all levels of government will also attend to condemn violence against women. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Delta Police and the Corporation of Delta are also hosting the event.