Surrey Mounties are running extra patrols in local business parks throughout the city to spook off would-be burglars as companies temporarily close up during the pandemic.
“It’s certainly something that we’re monitoring, and we’re going to be making sure that areas that contain businesses, that are closed down for the duration, we’ve got some patrols running through that area to help offset any potential criminal activity,” Constable Richard Wright said Friday.
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, said that’s “absolutely” good news.
“The last two weeks have been quite challenging, quite emotional,” she said. “So many businesses have either phoned or emailed not only myself but my staff in tears. Their dreams have been temporarily disabled and they’ve had to lay off workers, they’re trying to access government programming.”
“Business has really been feeling the pain since March 15,” Huberman noted. “These are really challenging times for businesses, not only small and medium-sized, but all businesses.”
On Friday Prime Minister Trudeau announced a government subsidy to cover 75 per cent of wages, backdated to March 15, in an effort to encourage companies that have laid off staff to call them back to work.
“We’ve been advocating for that, as has the Canadian Chamber of Commerce,” Huberman said.
Meantime, asked if the Surrey RCMP is experiencing COVID-19 related work absenteeism, as Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas says is the case with the fire department – which is currently running at about 87 per cent of its strength – Wright replied, “I don’t believe so – it’s business as usual for us and we’re making sure we’ve got enough members to support the front line, ensuring that service delivery isn’t impacted.”
Also, one might suspect Mounties are responding to more domestic violence calls as people are shut in doors but Wright indicated Friday that is not the case.
“We actually haven’t seen an increase,” he noted.
Corporal Elenore Sturko was asked the same question at press time Tuesday.
“I have not been alerted at this point about any rise,” she said.
As for business break-ins, Sturko said, police have “not seen any rise compared to what it was in 2019 so far.”
“I don’t have any residential,” she said in relation to home break-in statistics.
“Our front-line officers are doing increased patrols to make sure the businesses and stuff like that are being looked into,” she said. “The last thing we want is for people to have to worry about the security of their business while ithas to be shut during this time, so we do have an increase in patrols but we have not actually seen any increase from where we were last year.”