Just-released police statistics indicate Newton is one of the most dangerous places in Surrey, and it’s getting worse.
Half of the sex assaults in Surrey so far this year occurred in Newton, and people were almost as likely to be assaulted or robbed in that community as they were in Whalley, over the first three months of this year.
Surrey’s police committee was expected to consider the first-quarter crime statistics for Surrey yesterday (Monday) morning.
Murders are down significantly in Surrey so far in 2014, dropping from 11 in the first three months of 2013 to just one in the first quarter of this year, according to the statistics obtained by The Leader.
City-wide, the number of total Criminal Code offences in the first quarter of this year were up 21 per cent.
However, Newton’s number of Criminal Code offences jumped by 36 per cent compared to the same period last year, an increase not matched in any other community.
Most notable was sexual assault, which jumped to 28 in the first three months of this year in Newton, up from 18 assaults during the same period last year, a leap of 56 per cent.
Business break and enters were up 68 per cent in Newton, while theft from vehicles was up 79 per cent and fraud skyrocketed 150 per cent over last year in the embattled community.
People found in possession of offensive weapons also increased by 79 per cent in Newton this year.
The good news for Newton was that robbery was down 18 per cent, theft over $5,000 dropped 65 per cent and arson fell by 50 per cent. All those offenses dropped by similar magnitudes city-wide.
In addition, the number of people caught with cocaine dropped by 47 per cent in that community.
However, drug offences in Newton jumped by 22 per cent this year. It was the only community that saw an increase.
Police enforcement increased in Newton since the tragic murder of hockey mom, Julie Paskall on Dec. 29 last year. More members have been added, along with bike patrols and private security around the Newton bus exchange.
Despite the best efforts, total violent crime was up 10 per cent in Newton in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. It’s a figure unmatched in any other Surrey community.
The numbers may sound familiar.
The Leader reported earlier in February that Newton’s violent crime was on the rise in 2013.
At the time, Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said some of the numbers can be explained by the fact that people are getting more comfortable reporting crime.
Carr told The Leader Mounties have been on a campaign to encourage people to report sex assaults. The higher numbers, he said, are a result of that initiative.
“We will likely continue to see that number rise, only because people are becoming braver to report it,” Carr said. “Because it’s such a horrific crime, oftentimes the victims want to leave it behind them and do not want to come forward.”
All across Surrey, the total number of Criminal Code offences was up 21 per cent, with 10 per cent of the total being in Newton, Guildford and Fleetwood district reporting 29 per cent, Cloverdale nudging up 11 per cent and South Surrey bumping up by five per cent.