COLUMN: Public safety a shared job

Bringing down the crime rate in Surrey is a responsibility of police, city leaders and citizens.

A rash of shootings over the Christmas holidays might lead an observer to think that Surrey is a particularly violent place. It isn’t necessarily true.

Still, it’s hard to remember a holiday period when police are investigating three murders, which took place between Dec. 24 and 27, and a fourth serious shooting. The timing is horrible, considering that this is usually a quieter time of year and most people like to celebrate with family and friends.

While one murder may well be connected to a robbery attempt, as the victim was a convenience-store clerk, the reasons behind the others aren’t yet very clear. What does seem to be clear is that the gangland shootings that rocked much of the Lower Mainland in 2009, including Surrey, are again starting to escalate. This was predicted when gang leader Jonathan Bacon was gunned down in Kelowna this summer, and several shootings in recent months have definite gangland overtones.

While they are no less tragic than any loss of human life, gang shootings usually involve gang associates. Those who choose to get involved with gangs, usually to make a lot of money and live a fast lifestyle, are often targets for those involved with rival gangs. It’s all about gaining an edge in the type of criminal activity the particular gang is trying to dominate.

Generally speaking, Surrey is a pretty safe place to live. Most areas of the city are safe, day and night, and most people are law-abiding citizens.

Surrey RCMP are generally pleased with the crime trends. Despite a rapidly-growing population, many types of crimes are trending downward, and a number of enforcement measures, such as bait cars, have had a dramatic effect.

However, any large city is going to have a certain level of crime, and there is no avoiding it completely. As citizens, if we take proper measures to protect our homes and vehicles, we aren’t likely to have too many problems.

Nonetheless, there is a societal problem when young people see violence as the solution to whatever problems they feel they are going through. This doesn’t just involve gang members. In some cases, it involves failed relationships or other personal issues.

The tragic murder of 19-year-old Maple Batalia outside the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus on Sept. 28 has hit many people very hard, none more so than her family. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has just released some video footage related to that case, and is asking members of the public to come forward with any tips they have to help police solve that case.

Police can’t do it all. They can’t stop violence from taking place. Citizens must do all they can to prevent and avoid violence. Prevention starts at home. And when serious crimes do take place, law-abiding citizens need to offer up any assistance to police that they can.

In the new year, we as citizens can resolve to make our corner of Surrey a less violent place, and when crime does occur, we can help police to solve cases by providing all the information possible.

A crime-free big city of Surrey will never be possible. But a city with less crime of all types, including murders and other violent crimes, is a concrete and achievable goal which city leaders and all citizens should subscribe to.

Here’s to a less violent 2012.

Frank Bucholtz writes Thursdays for the Peace Arch News. He is the editor of the Langley Times.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

UPDATE: Missing 12-year-old boy found, Surrey RCMP say

Landon Vangeel-Morgan was last seen 9:14 p.m., May 30 near 96 Avenue and 150 Street

COVID-19: Daily update on pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

Provincial Health Officer officially bans overnight kids’ camps this summer

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read

l -->