SURREY — Surrey RCMP detachment had more than 180,000 calls for service last year.
‘”I believe we need to reduce the number of calls we respond to through early education and engagement with youth,” Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy, who has been in charge of the Surrey detachment for four years now, wrote in an open letter to Surrey residents.
He said he plans to send out two letters each year.
Surrey, at this time of writing, has had 35 shootings in 2016, with at least eight of them connected to an ongoing fight over local drug trafficking turf.
“The shots fired investigations continue to be our top priority as we strategically target those involved in the drug trade,” Fordy wrote.
“The individuals involved in the drug trade may change year to year, but the problem remains the same — young people are being lured into this criminal lifestyle with illusions of money and power. It is an issue that goes beyond police — it involves the entire community.”
Fordy noted police are working with the Surrey School District and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in an attempt “to provide intervention at an earlier age” through after-school programs like Code Blue fitness training, the Wrap-Around Program which aims to steer youngsters away from gang activity, the Big Brothers In-School Mentoring Program, and Hi Five, where youth cops chat with elementary school children.
“Talking to each other is important; sharing information is important; and sharing ownership of our community’s issues is important,” Fordy wrote. “As a result, I have made community engagement a priority of this detachment.”
Fordy noted that’s being accomplished, in part, by reaching out to residents and businesses throughout forums, neighbourhood safety meetings, bike patrols and “Coffee with a Cop” events.
In his letter, he noted the Surrey RCMP has created a “Diversity Unit” to “work effectively and compassionately” with Syrian refugees,
He also addressed the Surrey RCMP’s recently released First Quarter Crime Stat Report, which indicated violent crime down dropped two per cent overall, as well as an 11 per cent decrease in property crimes and 29 per cent decrease in robberies.
“We have seen significant reductions in business breaks and enters, theft over/under $5,000, and auto theft,” Fordy noted.
But sexual assault and kidnappings have increased in the city, he added. “A number of these are related to domestic situations. Our integrated Domestic Violence Unit continues to increase its focus on the highest risk domestic violence situations. We will also be hosting a community safety forum of domestic violence this fall.”