Surrey recorded the highest level of violent crime out of any Lower Mainland municipality last year.
That’s according to the Police-Reported 2013 Crime Severity Index (CSI) released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, July 23.
Out of the 18 Lower Mainland policing areas with populations of more than 10,000, Surrey had the highest level of violent crime.
The city was indexed at 114.01, surpassing Vancouver, which came in second at 110.59.
Surrey also came in third in the Lower Mainland in overall crime and non-violent crime, falling in just behind Langley City and UBC, in that order.
Out of the 307 cities measured across Canada, Surrey was ranked 25th in violent crime and 30th in crime overall.
Coun. Linda Hepner said she was not surprised by the high level of violent crime, describing 2013 as an anomaly.
“It was not a good year for Surrey,” Hepner said Tuesday. “In that sense, I understood (the high violent crime rate) to be the case.“
She said Surrey is working on getting more police officers on the street and continues to implement its Crime Reduction Strategy.
“The Crime Reduction Strategy is still one of the best documents we’ve ever produced in terms of attacking it from all angles,” Hepner said. “But do I think there’s more we’re going to have to do? Yes.“
That will include more boots on the ground, partnerships with other agencies in policing crime hot spots, and increasing neighbourhood watch programs, among other measures, she said.
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr (left) said the city’s numbers were up last year because of a jump in murders of 127 per cent and sex assaults by 28 per cent. The number of abductions rose as well.
“Even though we’re number one (in violent crime), we’re continuing with a downward trend,” Carr said Wednesday. “We had an eight- or nine-per-cent decrease in violent crime last year.“
He said several initiatives are now in place to reduce the amount of violent crime.
The news of the city’s ranking comes as the Surrey RCMP struggles to produce its own second-quarter crime statistics from 2014.
It’s been a month since the second quarter was complete, yet Mounties are still working to produce the figures.
Initially, the RCMP said they were working to get an “apples-to-apples” comparison for the media, then that the numbers were being “reconciled.“
Now, the Surrey RCMP is dealing with computer issues preventing them from uploading the information on the website.
It’s anticipated the second-quarter figures will be released on Thursday at about noon.
Hepner was surprised Tuesday to hear the figures hadn’t been released.
She said the Officer in Charge had committed earlier this year to making crime statistics public each month.
Several polls conducted over the last number of months indicate crime is the biggest issue among voters going into the civic election this fall.