Scene of a shooting in Surrey. (Surrey Now-Leader file photo)

Surrey’s violent crime trending down but more children victimized

Violent crimes below 10-year-average in 2018 but sexual violations against children on steady increase

Surrey RCMP statistics reveal that while the number of violent crimes in this city in 2018 were below a 10-year-average, sexual violations against children have been on a steady increase.

A look at violent crimes from 2009 to 2018 in this city indicates there were 5,946 incidents in 2018 compared to 5,819 in 2017, 6,348 in 2016, 7,566 in 2015, 5,624 in 2014, 5,749 in 2013, 7,194 in 2012, 7,629 in 2011, 8,303 in 2010 and 8,467 in 2009, with a 10-year average of 6,856.

“Overall, violent crime is trending downwards, so that’s positive,” Corporal Elenore Sturko said.

“Our work is far from over and we will continue. It doesn’t mean that we will be relaxing our duties as we’re performing them.

“We’re going to continue to move forward with our initiatives and continue our enforcement and proactive enforcement and education in the community because we want to keep the positive momentum going.”

The statistics also show there were 161 “actual incidents” of sexual violations against children in 2018, 137 in 2017, 107 in 2016, 73 in 2015, 62 in 2014, 57 in 2013, 32 in 2012, 49 in 2011, 60 in 2010 and 37 in 2009. Sturko told the Now-Leader this particular trend is likely due to a “variety of factors.”

“Over the past few years, of course, the use of digital media and computers and technology has increased,” she noted. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of those type of investigations and charges. There are along with the technology people proliferating those type of activities. There’s also a number of reporting mechanisms that have led to more information being provided to us. I don’t want to get into the specifics of it because I don’t want it to foil our investigative techniques.

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Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

“We also do have more resources dedicated specifically to those crime types which allows us to increase the number of completed investigations and charges,” Sturko said.

Sturko noted that once the stats are compiled for 2019 residents can expect to see “likely quite a jump” in the number of crimes against children as the RCMP this year changed its methodology for statistics-gathering.

“Any kind of reported sexual assault will be determined to have occurred unless there is evidence to suggest it didn’t,” she explained. “It’s probably a more accurate way of looking at the concerns of community.”

READ ALSO: Surrey sees 43 per cent increase in violent crime, under new scoring method

Some good news, according to the stats released this week, reveal a marked decrease in robberies over the past decade, with 2018 recording the lowest number at 312 while the highest was 921 in 2011, with a 10-year average of 700 annually.

“We do have a robbery unit here and we also have a property crime target team, different types of property crime special units here that look specifically into those crime types and are also working at identifying prolific offenders in those areas and targeting people who are involved in those types of crimes,” Sturko said.

“And that actually helps us to prevent crime and also deal with the investigation of those types of crimes that have already occurred.”

The total number of assaults in the past decade saw 2,941 in 2018, with the lowest number 2,923 in 2017 and the highest 4,414 in 2009. The 10-year average for assaults in Surrey, annually, from 2009 to 2018 is 3,478.

The total number of break-ins in Surrey, according to the police stats, was at its lowest in 2,751 in 2018 and at its highest 4,478 in 2014, with the 10-year average being 3,797 annually.

Surrey has recorded a yearly average of 14 homicides over the past decade, with 15 in 2018.

The highest number since 2009 was 25 in 2013 and the lowest was eight in 2015.

Surrey recorded 143 homicides between 2009 and 2018.

READ ALSO: Crime rate drops in Surrey for fourth straight year



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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