SURREY â€” Violent crime in Surrey increased by seven per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 while property crimes rose by 22 per cent and the number of criminal code offences all told grew by 20 per cent.
There were fewer homicides in Surrey last year, at 17, compared to 2013’s record-breaking 25.
The previous record was 21, in 2005.
The latest Surrey RCMP statistics to be released reveal that in 2014 there were 10,085 criminal code offences recorded in the city, compared to 8,161 in 2013.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said some of the increase in reported crime can be attributed to the Surrey RCMP’s Observe It, Report It campaign which encourages residents to contact police when they see something suspicious happening.
"We’ve seen a rise in calls," he said. Crimes that likely weren’t being reported to police before, he added, "are now being reported due to our campaign."
Broken down, there were 5,925 violent offences recorded in 2014 compared to 5,527 in 2013, 35,483 property crimes recorded in 2014 compared to 29,175 in 2013, and drug possession crimes â€” cocaine and marijuana â€” rose to 2,232 from 2,091. All told, the number of criminal code offences rose to 51,493 from 42,863, for an increase of 20 per cent.
On the bright side, in 2014 compared to 2013 the Surrey RCMP recorded a 28 per cent drop in traffic crashes causing injury or death.
Broken down by policing district, in 2014 there were five homicides in District 1 (Whalley), five in District 3 (Newton), four in District 5 (South Surrey), two in District 4 (Cloverdale/Port Kells) and one in District 2 (Guildford/Fleetwood).
Also of note, the number of attempted murders recorded in 2014 rose to 10 from three in 2013, fraud saw a spike to 2,786 cases from 1,768, and recorded prostitution-related crimes decreased to 67 from 118.
As for the 22 per cent increase in property crime â€” break-ins, thefts, shoplifting and such â€” Paquet noted it’s been on the rise across the Lower Mainland, with Surrey’s increase "largely being driven by motor vehicle crimes."
Insp. Peter Jadis, in charge of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) said there has been a "notable increase in theft from auto and theft of auto across the Lower Mainland and even the province.
"We are working with police agencies across the regional, including Surrey, to tackle this spike and focus on the most prolific offenders," Jadis said.
Meanwhile, Surrey New Democrat MPs Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta) and Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North) blame the Conservative government.
"There has been a lot of Conservative talk in the past few days about safety, but not a single cent put towards more resources for police," Sims said.
Sandhu said the Tories "seem intent on ignoring Surrey. We’ve long been advocating for more funding to hire RCMP officers, but there have been no results. Surrey is B.C.’s second largest city, and families here deserve attention and action from this government."