SURREY — The Surrey RCMP is reporting that violent crime went down by eight per cent in 2017, according to its most recent statistics released Wednesday. This is comparing 2017 with 2016.
Last year there were 5,669 known violent crimes in Surrey compared to 6,189 in 2016.
“The trend certainly seems to be that crime is on the decrease for the last couple of years,” noted Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann.
By category, there was a nine per cent increase in the number of homicides — 12 in 2017 compared to 11 in 2016 — and a 29 per cent decrease in attempted murders with 15 recorded in 2017 and 21 in 2016.
The number of robberies dropped by 20 per cent in 2017, to 335 from 419 in 2016. Fifty-one suspects were charged with robbery last year. One was Jared McClure, 34, accused of committing eight bank robberies in Surrey, Coquitlam and Vancouver.
Sexual offences, notably, rose by 34 per cent in 2017 with 398 cases in 2017 compared to 296 in 2016.
Assaults in general, however, dropped by four per cent to 2,954 in 2017 from 3,089 in the previous year.
Arson was up 23 per cent, residential and business break-ins declined by 18 per cent and auto theft was down by five per cent.
So far there has been five shootings in Surrey in 2018. There were 59 shootings in Surrey during 2017, in 2016 there were 61 and in 2015 there were 88.
John Newman, 56, of Surrey was charged with eight firearms offences on Jan. 3, 2018, related to a Dec. 18, 2017 incident in which he allegedly discharged a gun at his home in Fleetwood. Seven guns were seized after police found bullet holes in two homes.
In an unrelated case, Trevor Robert McKay, 27, of no fixed address was charged with five offences in December after the Surrey RCMP investigated a shooting in Royal Heights in which a man was injured.
Also in December Son Thai Lu, 34, of Surrey is alleged to have shot another man at a coffee shop in Whalley. The victim survived. Lu was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and pointing a firearm.
These three cases are not suspected to be tied to gangs or the drug trade.
In the Lu case, Shumann said, “there is no known link to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict and we’re thankful no one else was injured.”
In October, however, two people were charged in a case “believed to have ties to the Lower Mainland gang conflict,” Schumann said. One SKS assault rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a .22-calibre revolver, ammunition, bulk powder cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine were seized from a home in Newton. Abdul Shaheel Khan, 22, and Shastina Shrena Kumar, 21, both of Surrey, were each charged with unlawfully trafficking in and possession of a controlled substance, as well as six firearms offences.
Meantime, Surrey RCMP stats related to property crimes indicate a seven per cent decrease in 2017, all told. Notably, Selena Goth, 43, and Calvin Cranmore, 36, both of Surrey, were charged with 157 offences related to a series of break-ins, thefts and frauds. They were arrested at a hotel in Langley in October following a two-month investigation by the Surrey RCMP Property Crime Team into apartment building break-ins in which the suspects allegedly targetted communal mailboxes and underground parking garages.