COLUMN: Crime will not relent

While strides have been made reducing murders and other crimes, community involvement is key to cutting violent crime substantially

There is some good news and much to be concerned about in Surrey RCMP’s second quarter crime statistics.

The good news is that property crime reports and the number of murders are both down. Police have also made a noticeable dent in dealing with prolific offenders in the areas of auto crime, weapon seizures and possession of stolen property.

In the case of murders, as of July 31, the murder rate was down 14 per cent. Both 2013 and 2014 were not good years in Surrey in terms of murders, so it is good that there’s been a decrease.  Given the many random shooting incidents over the past four months, it’s almost miraculous that the numbers are down.

Overall property crime is down seven per cent, which is significant. Property crime is among the most annoying, as police often are slow to respond, the number of incidents is large, the items taken are important (and sometimes irreplaceable), and it never seems to end.

Break and enters are down 16 per cent and thefts from vehicles are down 17 per cent. This is likely due to many factors, but vigilance and attention to details, such as not leaving valuables in plain sight, make a substantial difference.

In the areas of concern, violent crime is up substantially in Surrey – 36 per cent. Sexual assaults are up, and spousal assaults are up 13 per cent. In the area of sexual assaults, 88 per cent of victims knew the alleged offenders.

Robberies are up substantially and violence in general is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

Surrey has long had a problem with violent crime. This is due in part to the rapidly growing population and the tendency of many people to move frequently. Poverty is a contributing factor. Gang recruitment and the widespread sale of drugs are also factors.

Despite very high property prices and ever-higher rents, many people come to Surrey because it can be a cheaper place to live. There is a price to pay though, and it may be in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood, indifference to obvious social problems and the anonymity which a big city offers.

Police have tried to deal with these issues in a variety of ways, but by the time they get involved, the problems are often very large and almost impossible to solve. The city has also spent millions in recent years in creating programs for kids and teens, building recreation centres and trying to offer innovative events which can offer positive experiences.

Crime will never go away, but there clearly is a need to do much more to get the violent crime rates down. Having more police officers (the 100 additional ones asked for by the city are slowly starting to trickle in) will help. So will much more two-way communication with neighbourhoods, community groups, business organizations and other key community players.

The High Risk Location Initiative, which began almost two years ago and  involves joint work by Surrey RCMP, the fire department, and bylaw officials is also a positive way to address these problems from a more holistic perspective.

However, the community has to be deeply involved in a large number of ways in order for violent crime to be reduced substantially. There is a great deal of work that remains to be done.

 

Just Posted

Gill says he’s ‘prepared’ to make handguns ‘biggest’ issue in Surrey civic election

Surrey First slate reveals second part of its public safety platform Thursday

VIDEO: Surrey’s Civic Hotel hosts grand opening

Hotel’s theme is ‘Celebrating B.C.’ with each floor representing a different region

ELECTION QUESTIONS: Does Surrey need its own police force?

Who’s on the right side of Surrey RCMP’s contract issue debate? That’s for voters to decide on Oct. 20

Surrey Eagles fall to Vees in BCHL Showcase opener

South Surrey-based squad still winless after 4-1 loss Thursday morning in Chilliwack

Surrey ‘aggressively tackling’ recycling contamination to avoid hefty fines

City council approves contract with Recycle BC that means additional savings from previous deal — if contamination can be reduced

VIDEO: Story surrounding new playground at Surrey hospital a real ‘tear-jerker’

Dad began planning after his son had surgery in Surrey and he saw too many sad faces

Bus company vies to replace Greyhound in Kamloops to Vancouver, Kelowna

Alberta-based Ebus applies to the Passenger Transportation Board to replace Greyhound

Former VP of lululemon joins B.C. cannabis cultivation facility

Kerry Biggs will be the Chief Financial Officer of True Leaf, in Lumby

Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

People on opioid agonist treatment face lower risks of overdosing, BC Centre on Substance Use says

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

North Delta happenings: week of Sept. 20

Events, courses and clubs listing for North Delta

Final Cloverdale Market Day of the season this Saturday

Vendors, food trucks and more on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Rural Canada Post carriers could see 25-per-cent pay hike: spokesman

An arbitrator has released a ruling in a long-standing pay equity dispute at Canada Post

Most Read