OUR VIEW: Surrey’s ‘new’ safety plan sparks sense of déjà vu

The question remains – if all the previous public safety plans were so effective, why are we doing this again?

Surrey's mayor Linda Hepner

Surrey, city of task forces.

Council has rolled out Surrey’s “comprehensive” new Public Safety Strategy, heaping 24 “enhanced” initiatives, plus 10 more, onto an earlier civic government’s Crime Reduction Strategy.

These ponderous manifestos are typically shepherded in by what’s known, in colloquial terms, as crime reduction gurus.

Dr. Terry Waterhouse is the latest. Before him, it was Lance Talbott, who oversaw the Surrey’s “comprehensive” Crime Reduction Strategy which contained 107 recommendations. Before that, Talbott managed the National Crime Reduction Strategy in London, England.

Other anti-crime task forces come to mind: Dianne Watts’ Mayor’s Task Force Action Plan struck in the wake of a record-breaking number of homicides; Bob Bose’s 10-member Mayors Advisory Committee on Youth Violence, struck following a series of shootings and stabbings in Surrey involving teens.

That last one produced 78 recommendations and cost Surrey taxpayers $26,000, with $13,000 of that in consultant’s fees. That was in 1993.

The tally of Surrey’s newest Public Safety Strategy has not yet been revealed. But we’re guessing, in 2016, it cost a lot more. Waterhouse’s salary alone is $170,000.

These ‘latest thing’ anti-crime strategies leave one with a sense of déjà vu. Let’s hope it measures up to its billing, which Mayor Linda Hepner identifies as “comprehensive, collaborative and measurable.”

Still, the question remains that if all the other plans were so great, why are we doing this again?

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