SIMPSON: In Surrey, the never-ending cycle of denial, violence and talk must stop

You could excuse Surrey residents for feeling a vivid sense of déjà vu Tuesday night.

In what has sadly become an all too familiar scene in our city, hundreds of concerned residents packed the gym at Tamanawis Secondary to hear from their community leaders about Surrey’s most recent rash of violence.

Beau Simpson

What they heard was nothing new.

It needs to stop.

We’re doing everything we can.

We can do this together.

We will fix this.

It was only a few months ago – reeling from the death of teen Serena Vermeersch – we all huddled together inside Newton’s Senior Centre for an anti-crime discussion called Rally4Change. I stood outside because the place was so packed.

"Until I hear that my and our world view and our perception is valid and what we as a community can do about it, nothing is going to change. It’s going to continue to be our reality," Newton community advocate Naida Robinson told the crowd.

Nine months prior to that emotional rally, residents jammed into the very same hall to talk about crime in response to the murder of Surrey mom Julie Paskall.

"It looks like it’s bonded us and we’re going to be moving ahead and galvanize and try and get a strong voice to council and get some changes," Newton Community Association member Doug Elford said at the time.

And on it goes. It seems in Surrey, we are bogged down in a never-ending cycle of denial, violence and talk.

It goes something like this:

  1. Our elected officials in Surrey refuse to acknowledge Surrey has a crime problem, arguing that our city suffers from an undeserved reputation as a crime-ridden city. Everything is grand. Nothing is wrong with Surrey. (Oh, and by the way, vote ‘Yes’ for transit.)

  2. Violence happens to such a degree that our community-boosting leaders must no longer ignore or deny it. (After 13 shootings, our mayor says it’s unfair that she’s asked about crime – after all, she’s not the sheriff, right? But after 18 shootings, the badge comes on and she’s had enough.)

  3. Community rallies for change, hosting town hall meetings, hoping their voices will be heard by city leaders.

  4. Repeat.

Linda Hepner
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner talks to residents at Tamanawis Secondary school Tuesday night. (Photo: JACOB ZINN)

Like it or not, we are living in a city where many parents refuse to let their kids out to play, lest they be struck by stray bullets.

Like me, these people don’t care how hard the RCMP is working. They don’t care how disgusted or "astonished" our mayor is about the shootings. They don’t want to hear empty phrases like "it needs to stop," or "we can do this together."

The people of Surrey need their leaders to have a clear – and consistent – stance on the crime that is ripping their neighbourhoods apart at the seams.

Then, and only then, can we truly "do this together."

Beau Simpson is editor of the Now. He can be reached at bsimpson@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Surrey building that has gathered dust for 20 years is for sale again, with bids sought

Potential sale of the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre is good news, Surrey Board of Trade CEO says

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Most Read