A letter writer says the current crime problems in Surrey have been a long time in the making due to lack of police resources and an understaffed bylaw department.

City has deaf ears in regard to crime

Surrey's citizens are shut out of meaningful reform.

It was interesting to read your July 17 article by Kevin Diakiw, in which he reported that a high-profile member of Surrey’s environmental committee, Bob Campbell, had quit in protest of the way he’s been treated and the dysfunction of the committee itself. He states he was openly mocked when he attempted to raise and discuss important issues.

Is that not the job of an advisory group?

The article notes that Mr. Campbell may be the most recent member to resign, but there were others in the past. Dr. Roy Strang departed in frustration about 10 years ago and the late Dr. Tom Godwin left the committee when he decided recommendations were falling on deaf ears of council.

I can identify with their frustration. The City of Surrey used to have a Community Consultant Group. After the murder of mother-of-three Julie Paskall at the Newton ice rink, we unanimously  passed a motion  that recommended  the city organize a multi-level governmental meeting to discuss and find solutions to the crime issues in our city. That was over a year-and-a-half ago.

The city has never organized such a meeting, and furthermore, has never re-instated that consultant group. They ignored our recommendation and then silenced us by not reconvening the group.

How does “not” having meaningful discussions with those who have the ability to make change help us find solutions to our crime problems? Simply stating that this must stop does nothing to resolve the problems.

Last fall, after the tragic  murder of 17-year-old Serena  Vermeersch, a number of concerned citizens organized  a rally in Newton. Our call for action was that mayor and council organize the multi-level government meeting we had asked for eight months prior and start working on solutions to our crime problems. All of our currently elected council were in the audience that day and we still do not have a multi-level government meeting organized to find solutions to our crime problems.

A couple of months ago it was the murder of the Arun Bains, 22, in Newton; a few  weeks or so ago it was the murder of father-of-two Colin Hill in Cloverdale.

Residents in Port Kells recently woke up to a targeted shooting in our neighbourhood – and on, and on it continues.

The questions beg to be asked, what other city in Canada had to requisition 100 police officers all at the same time, and does this indicate that the serious crime situation in Surrey has been a long time in the making due to lack of police resources and an understaffed bylaw department?

Do we need federal reforms to our justice system? Do we need the province to implement the recommendations of the attorney general’s blue ribbon panel report “Tough on Crime?”

One thing is for sure, we need a multi-level government meeting to find answers and solutions to these questions.

 

Darlene Bowyer, Coordinator

Surrey Association of Sustainable Communities

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