A Surrey community is “frustrated and angry” amid the latest string of shootings.
Doug Elford, spokesperson for the Newton Community Association, says some people are afraid to leave their homes after a series of shootings in the neighbourhood in recent weeks.
“It does get us on edge again,” said Elford, adding residents were hoping the violence experienced last year was beginning to calm down.
Between March 13 and 25, there was a shooting every second day in Whalley and Newton. People were injured by gunshots in three of those incidents.
The latest was in the upscale neighbourhood of Panorama Ridge, where Elford said people have a relatively high expectation of safety.
At just after midnight Friday (March 25) shots rang out near 128 Street and 56 Avenue. Police found evidence of gunplay at the location.
In all, there have been 16 confirmed reports of shots fired in Surrey so far this year, with almost half of those occurring in the last two weeks.
The flurry of gun shots began March 13 at 8:32 p.m. Surrey RCMP responded to a call of shots fired in the 14200-block of 64 Avenue.
As police attended, a man showed up at hospital with gunshot wounds.
Then on March 14, police responded to a call of shots fired and confirmed the event took place.
The following Friday (March 18), there was a shooting in Newton at 144 Street and 92 Avenue. Shell casings were found at that scene and police were alerted a man had arrived at Surrey Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound. That victim is a 23-year-old from Surrey who is known to police. Police believe it was a targeted shooting.
On Sunday, March 20, at 6:50 a.m., Surrey RCMP responded to a call of shots fired in the 11000-block of 132 Street. On arrival, they found shell casings and evidence showed bullets were fired into a home. No one was hurt, and Mounties said the occupants of the home are known to police.
At 7:30 p.m. last Tuesday (March 22), Surrey RCMP responded to a report of shots fired in the 10800-block of 143 Street. When they arrived, they found a man suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Police described that incident as a targeted shooting.
A day later, police were called to a home in the 14700-block of 78 Avenue, but weren’t immediately able to find any evidence of gunfire. Police later got a call from a man and confirmed his car had been shot a block away from the original call.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the shootings are related to one another or to a spate of shootings in Surrey and Delta last year.
So far, this year is outpacing the level of gun violence seen on Surrey streets in 2015. Last year there were 47 incidents of shots fired – less than one a week.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann said police haven’t calculated the number of shootings because they don’t appear to be related to each other, or last year’s incidents.
“Not to say that the connections aren’t there,” Schumann said. “But we haven’t seen any yet.”
That said, police are now asking analysts to determine how many Surrey shootings there have been this year.
Earlier this month, Schumann told The Leader the public need not be concerned about their own safety, but noted it pays to be vigilant.
“In my experience, people who are not involved in a life of crime, are not likely going to become victims of crime,” Schumann said. “That said, when you have criminals who are violent and seem to have no regard for anyone’s safety, the public should be concerned.”
He said police are using all resources available to put an end to the shootings.
“People should know we’re working around the clock to solve these types of crimes,” Schumann said.
Elford says it’s “embarrassing” to live in a community with such a high level of gunplay.
“Here we go again,'” Elford said. “We’re back to trying to defend our town.”
Anyone with further information about any of the shooting incidents is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit a tip at www.solvecrime.ca