Surrey’s top cop stressed intervention, prevention and enforcement as key initiatives in Surrey public safety this week.
Chief Supt. Dwayne McDonald, named Surrey RCMP officer in charge in October, addressed about 100 business people and politicians at the Sheraton Guildford on Tuesday afternoon.
He pointed out there is extremely strong policing in Surrey and said the crime statistics bear that out.
He also noted that some crime appears to be getting more serious, as the Statistics Canada Crime Severity Index shows a climb.
The police, he said, need to be aware of these trends and remain responsive to them.
Enforcement alone is not going to cut it.
“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” McDonald said. “The status quo is not going to work for us in the long run.”
Crime, he said, is forever changing and policing needs to change with it.
He said the needed changes might be subtle.
He noted that a pot of water is boiling at 212F and only needs an extra degree to produce steam. Some police initiatives might just need that extra one degree to produce results.
He praised the RCMP’s SMARTT program, designed to help the disadvantaged and vulnerable in this city.
The Surrey RCMP deals with people with “multiple risk factors” that are at great risk of harm.
The program helps people who are homeless, or who have problems of addiction and mental health get the services they need.
“Sixty per cent of the calls (for RCMP service) are related to social issues, not just criminal activity,” McDonald said.
Addressing those issues requires a multi-agency approach and the contribution of partners willing to help with the problem.
McDonald said he greatly appreciated the relationships the RCMP has been able to build with the community in that regard.
“If the police department loses the trust of the community, it doesn’t end well for anybody, and I’m certainly going to endeavour to ensure that doesn’t happen here,” McDonald said.
“Trust isn’t simply earned by us putting out news releases, or giving you facts, it’s about building relationships in the community.”
McDonald said after the meeting that a new initiative is coming for Whalley. While details are few at this point, he said it would be a multi-agency approach to dealing with some of the problems on 135A Street.
McDonald’s presentation came on the heels of two public safety initiatives that were launched on Tuesday.
One, is a new mobile app, a one-stop source for RCMP events, crime mapping, crime prevention and trends.
The other is known as Project IRIS, where the community can register their closed circuit TV cameras for the RCMP database, so the Mounties can better fight crime.