SIMPSON: With so much to say about crime in Surrey, using ‘bullet points’ is apropos

Two words come to mind – déjà vu. Well, there are other two-word phrases that come to mind but that’s the only publishable one.

It’s Wednesday morning and Surrey just woke up to news of another shooting.

The city’s mayor – after being criticized for her silence in the wake of a spree of violence – goes on a media blitz. She lauds Surrey’s “significant progress” on crime – after, of course, emphasizing how “furious” she is about the violence.

The city’s top cop does the same, urging residents to be “patient” because, well, these things take time, you know.

Twitter explodes.

Bloggers blog.

Editors opine.

Politicians politicize.

The whole scenario brings two words to my mind.

Déjà vu.

Well, there are other two-word phrases that come to mind but that’s the only publishable one.

(Click here to read my column almost exactly one year ago)

Yes, our city is once again abuzz due to high-profile violence. The reaction from residents is once again raw and the reaction from our leaders is once again predictable. With so much happening so quickly (by the time you read this, the number of shootings could be as high as 34), I thought using “bullet points” (sorry) would be apropos.

  • Does it not bother anybody that the RCMP called a press conference – on a Friday afternoon of all times – to reveal that the number of shootings was actually twice as high as media was reporting? Think about that. This means the RCMP are arbitrarily deciding which shootings you and I should know about. There were at least 14 shootings in our city that we were not aware of. So, how do we know there was just one shooting on Tuesday night? For all we know, there could have been three. To me, this is one of the most troubling aspects of this shooting spree. Two words Surrey RCMP – transparency and accountability.
  • It’s time we start putting elected officials like Dave Woods under the spotlight. Woods, the Surrey First councillor brought to the team for his policing experience, has proven to be all but invisible when it comes to crime. What is he bringing to the table? What ideas of his are we implementing? It’s why he was elected, after all. Wasn’t it?
  • Is it just me, or have we been talking about Surrey’s “long-term strategy” for a long time? At what point does our “long-term strategy” start bearing fruit? While “prevention” and getting “downstream” of the issue are buzzwords, they are definitely important. But so is keeping our city safe in the short-term.
  • Coun. Tom Gill is absolutely right to question how long it took the city to hire someone to fill the election-promised position of director of public safety strategies. It took the city more than a year to hire someone. After he was hired, it took Dr. Terry Waterhouse several months just to make the rounds and “learn the issues.” An actual plan won’t be unveiled until October. Then it will take about a year to begin implementing. No problem guys. Take your time. Everything’s cool here.
  • Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Growth is good. But unabated growth is hurting our communities in more ways than we can count (we haven’t even starting talking about our jam-packed schools). Let’s stop patting ourselves on the back and pretending that the fact 1,200 people move here every month is a bragging point.
  • Our crime reporter Tom Zytaruk recalled how he and his childhood pals would peer across Scott Road with trepidation into the untamed wilderness that was Surrey. Open ditches, unkempt lots and derelict ranchers. That was in the late ’70s. For decades, the Delta Police have called Scott Road “The Thin Blue Line,” separating them from the Surrey RCMP and by extension a relative Mayberry from a place much more violent. So many of Surrey’s shootings this year happened just several blocks east of that thin blue line. In comparison, in North Delta police have dealt with only one report of “shots fired heard,” in 2016, in the neighbourhood of 92nd Avenue and 116th. The Delta Police ran area patrols and had a helicopter in the air, but on the ground nothing was found. Not one bullet casing. That was on Jan.17. That Scott Road sure remains a mystery. Are guardian angels protecting North Deltans from Surrey’s current mayhem?

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

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