Crime is an Issue in Surrey
Since opening the Hub, I have held a number of dialogue sessions to hear from residents about how we can build a stronger Surrey. It’s no surprise that I continually hear that crime is the number one issue in our city.
In recent days, there have been several murders and stabbings, a daylight drive-by shooting, a young lady swarmed and beaten, a bus shot at, as well as countless break-ins and other crimes that didn’t make the news. Some may claim this is just a spike in crime, or there’s nothing to worry about if crimes are targeted. But, this isn’t a spike in crime, and people have every reason to worry when bullets are flying through busy neighbourhoods. Every day people tell me they don’t feel safe.
To ignore the facts, doesn’t change the facts. And, when a community is faced with increased violence and heightened insecurity, people expect their leaders to lead.
As elected officials our job is to serve the people and we should be held accountable for decisions we make. It’s unfair and unjustifiable for the City’s elected officials to go silent and ignore the public during times of crisis. It’s clear the status quo is simply not working and people are demanding answers.
The feedback I’ve received is that people want immediate and long-term solutions, as well as a complete review of our Crime Reduction Strategy. It’s not enough to just implement new measures, such as cameras on Colebrook Road or by the Newton Recreation Centre, we have to evaluate whether our programs are actually making a difference. And, if not, we need to develop a new plan.
Surrey’s Officer in Charge asked for 27 additional officers this year to keep up with the growing demand, so we should listen to him. I have also heard very clearly that we need to recommit to community policing, including more bike and foot patrols. And, it’s time we examined how the City’s ByLaw Enforcement Division can provide additional support. We can look to the City of Langford’s award-winning Community Safety Officer Project for guidance.
As a City, we can also make better planning decisions, because the power of zoning and innovative design can truly shape a neighbourhood and improve safety.
Crime reduction is a complex issue and will require a multi-faceted approach and a new way of thinking. It’s time for the City and the community to work together and develop new approaches and fresh ideas on how to fix the crime problem in our city.