By-law officers will enforce low-level incidents of graffiti

Winning back Whalley

City is reworking an old initiative to focus enforcement on small crimes in North Surrey

It was in 2002 when the city’s ruling Surrey Electors Team (SET) on council were given a book that would change the approach to crime prevention in this city for years.

They were on a civic party retreat at Harrison Hot Springs, when the president of the party gave each of the newly elected copy of  “Fixing Broken Windows,” written by George Kelling and Catherine Coles.

The book is based on a crime reduction practice of tackling low-level crime, and by cleaning up a neighbourhood, more serious crime becomes less prevalent.

SET councillors and Doug McCallum, the mayor at the time, loved the approach.

What followed was an unprecedented crush of enforcement on the Whalley strip, of 135A Street just north of 106 Avenue.

Road blocks were installed, extra Mounties were deployed and every city department was to report crime when they saw it.

McCallum created an Action Team to take back Whalley, one block at a time.

It’s an approach that worked in New York and Toronto’s troubled Jane Finch area.

And it worked in Surrey for a while, but observers noted the crush in Whalley caused a upsurge in Newton.

Surrey has run a successful program with extra bylaw officers acting as an addition to foot patrols in Newton. Council now wants to expand that program into Whalley.

Surrey reduced its plan to hire 16 Mounties this year, and is going with a dozen.

Instead, seven new bylaw officers will tackle low-level bylaw infractions, such as littering, graffiti and unkempt properties. The hope is area residents will take pride in the community, and criminals will see it as a less friendly place to do business.

Related Story: Surrey launches crackdown in Whalley

“If we’re diligent on the bylaw side of things, hopefully we’re join got nip some of the stuff in the bud if something goes wrong,” Coun. Tom Gill, chair of the city finance committee said Tuesday.

Coun. Dave Woods, a former RCMP officer, said he’s not concerned about the addition of bylaw officers instead of Mounties.

“A lot of those matters that are handled by (bylaw officers), shouldn’t be handled by police,” Woods said. “These low-level nuisance issues, they’re really not criminal in nature, but they impact the quality of life.”

He noted that there are bylaws about where people can smoke, those who are flicking their cigarette butts and graffiti.

The addition of seven bylaw officers brings to 55 the number of civic enforcement personnel in the city.

Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of bylaw enforcement, said Wednesday bylaw officers have been busy for the last few weeks up in Whalley.

The community, he said, is greatly eased just by having the bylaw officers there.

The object isn’t to issue fines, it’s to gain compliance to bylaws and keep the area clean.

He understands how the pressure on one neighbourhood can push it to another, so bylaw officers are working to help people off the street.

“Displacement is a concern to us too,” Rehal said. “We want to push them into service, be it detox, be it beds, that’s our goal right now, rather than just push them out.”

Peter Lipreti, a former councillor for Toronto’s Jane Finch area told The Leader in 2003 the trick to success will be a sustained effort.

Rehal said the city is prepared for the long haul on this approach.

Just Posted

Surrey lotto winner plans Disney trip and aims to be ‘responsible’ with winnings

Local dad Simon McNeil bought ticket at grocery store in North Delta

Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says her resignation is effective Nov. 12

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Surrey Mounties investigate drive-by shooting in Fleetwood

It happened Monday afternoon in the 8000-block of 153A Street. Police say no victim has been located.

18-year-old to hospital after shots fired in White Rock

Police investigating early-morning incident

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

B.C. cheese linked to 5 E. Coli cases

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Hockey legends come to B.C.

Greats including Bossy, Dionne, Hawerchuk, Howe, Lafleur and Parent at Langley Events Centre

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

B.C. university Pride group replaces white supremacy posters

Around 50 people walked through downtown Victoria to share posters of love

B.C. to invest $492 million in affordable homes

72 new projects are part of a 10-year, $1.9-billion strategy

Around the BCHL: Surrey Eagles sliding and Cassidy Bowes flows

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Pit bull cross, chihuahua owners must split costs for dogfight damage, judge rules

Eac side responsible for $577.43 towards injuries in Comox Valley incident

Most Read