COLUMN: Surrey’s crime numbers a growing concern

City's second-quarter crime statistics are troubling, and much work needs to be done, writes Frank Bucholtz.

There is some good news and much to be concerned about in Surrey RCMP’s second-quarter crime statistics.

The good news is that property crime reports and the number of murders are both down. Police have also made a noticeable dent in dealing with prolific offenders in the areas of auto crime, weapon seizures and possession of stolen property.

In the case of murders, as of July 31, the murder rate was down 14 per cent. Both 2013 and 2014 were not good years in terms of murders, so it is good that there’s been a decrease. Given the many random shooting incidents over the past four months, it’s almost miraculous that the numbers are down.

Overall property crime is down seven per cent, which is significant. Property crime is among the most annoying, as police often are slow to respond, the number of incidents is large, the items taken are important (and sometimes irreplaceable), and it never seems to end.

Break and enters are down 16 per cent and thefts from vehicles are down 17 per cent. This is likely due to many factors, but vigilance and attention to details, such as not leaving valuables in plain sight, make a substantial difference.

In the areas of concern, violent crime is up substantially in Surrey – 36 per cent. Sexual assaults are up, and spousal assaults are up 13 per cent. In the area of sexual assaults, 88 per cent of victims knew the alleged offenders.

Robberies are up substantially and violence in general is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

Surrey has long had a problem with violent crime. This is due in part to the rapidly growing population and the tendency of many people to move frequently. Poverty is a contributing factor. Gang recruitment and the widespread sale of drugs are also factors.

Despite very high property prices and ever-higher rents, many people come to Surrey because it can be a cheaper place to live. There is a price to pay though, and it may be in the atmosphere of the neighborhood, indifference to obvious social problems and the anonymity which a big city offers.

Police have tried to deal with these issues in a variety of ways, but by the time they get involved, the problems are often very large and almost impossible to solve. The city has also spent millions in recent years in creating programs for kids and teens, building recreation centres and trying to offer innovative events which can offer positive experiences.

Crime will never go away,but there clearly is a need to do much more to get the violent crime rates down. Having more police officers (the 100 additional ones asked for by the city are slowly starting to trickle in) will help. So will much more two-way communication with neighbourhoods, community groups, business organizations and other key community players.

The High Risk Location Initiative, which began almost two years ago and  involves joint work by Surrey RCMP, the fire department, and bylaw officials is also a positive way to address these problems from a more holistic perspective.

However, the community has to be deeply involved in a large number of ways in order for violent crime to be reduced substantially. There is a great deal of work that remains to be done.

Frank Bucholtz writes Fridays for Peace Arch News.

frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

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

Just Posted

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

Most Read