I attended the forum at Tamanawis Secondary last week dealing with the current crime issues in Surrey (700 attend meeting to combat crime, April 24).
I appreciate the work that is being done by our RCMP and know that this is a very trying time for all police departments that are investigating this matter. It is hard to get evidence and lay charges when there is a code of silence from both the victims and their families.
There is a reason these offenders are doing these crimes. They feel that nothing will happen to them even if they do get caught. If they knew there was a serious consequence, they would think twice before they got involved. It’s that revolving door of justice that keeps these type of crimes occurring in our communities.
Now even the families support their illegal activities, with a code of silence, as they bring in tens of thousands of untaxed dollars to the household every year.
Although the forum was informative, I thought a lot more time could have been dedicated to listening to the audience. Using the first hour-and-a-half telling us what was being done was information we already knew from the TV, radio and newspapers.
It was good to see that the mayor is now willing to talk about crime issues in Surrey. If you do not talk about problems, you are not working towards solutions.
I still feel there a disconnect, and that resonated with the gentleman who told council that they need to get out of their palace and into our communities where we can see them actually involved to find solutions. He received the loudest applause of the evening.
I did not leave the meeting feeling it was all smoke and mirrors; our officer in charge did a good job, and I felt he truly does care. The rows of politicians did not engage with the audience very well and, unfortunately, I felt that they were only there to save face with their electorate and for the photo-op. I tried to have a conversation with my MLA afterwards; he was happy to see me but was more interested in doing a television interview, and off he went.
I was encouraged by the story told by the young man brought in as an example of a success story for the ‘youth at risk’ program administered by the school board.
On the other hand, another young man from the audience said he saw the pictures of the persons of interest posted by the RCMP and was not surprised. He went to school with them and everyone knew they were up to no good – so this tells me there are many of them falling through the cracks. If fellow classmates knew, teachers should have known, and it went unreported.
I do not want to hear one more time that the public is not at risk. When we have shootings throughout our neighbourhoods in the middle of the day, we are at risk.
When the City of Vancouver had crime problems in the late 1990s, all levels of governments met and the federal government came forward with millions of dollars to put in programs and beef up their police department. A document, the Vancouver Agreement, was put together.
For a year and a half now, Surrey community associations and groups have been requesting that the City of Surrey put together a multi-level governmental meeting so that we may find solutions to crime problems in Surrey, and possibly have our own Surrey Agreement.
We are still waiting.
Darlene Bowyer, Surrey