Last year was record year when it come to number of murders committed in Surrey since 2005. Countless hours, articles, media appearances and meetings between top political and law enforcement leaders haven’t help so far to turn that trend into positive direction. Only good news over the last few months was arrest of Julie Paskall murdered. Deadly and dangerous situation continues, majority of Surrey political brass is utterly silent, while police and criminologist who serves on Mayor’s Crime Task force are trying to convince us that there is no problem at all. Latest surge happened last week when Surrey recorded three murders in just five days.
According to media reports latests murders are not directly related, although some are convinced that they’re tightly related to ongoing gang war in Surrey, but worrying element is that at least two out of three happened in high density residential areas. People in South Surrey and Newton are again on the edge and looking is it safe for them to leave their homes or to drive their cars during regular hours.
Reasons for this are that one of murders happened during dinner hours when these parts of city are full of people and youngsters enjoying good weather and outside activities. When residents of this city or any other city in the world look out of their windows and see numbers of EMS and law enforcement cars blocking their street to anyone that means that they were probably in danger hours or minutes ago.
University of Fraser Valley criminologist and Mayor of Surrey Crime Task Force member, which was started following Paskall murder, Irwin Cohen who spoke with The Province newspapers this past weekend came with mantra which is well known to the citizens of this City. It would be extremely difficult to count on how many occasion someone from law enforcement or local municipal government came with same statement.
“If you’re not gang related and you’re not involved in a criminal lifestyle there’s a very small chance you’ll be the victim of homicide”, Cohen said.
Mr. Cohen also said that people should not read too much in short-term trend. Twenty month long unbroken stream of murders which started on Christmas of 2012, culminated with the murder of Julie Paskall, and extended to this year to anyone who follows situation in this city doesn’t look like short-term trend. In that time Surrey recorded more than 30 murders and resolution is not presented to the public, question is when “short-term” will end and when “long-term” data will be judged?
So far citizens of Surrey saw some slight improvements which were presented by the Mayor and OIC of Surrey RCMP happened, also additional number of forces is promised by the City, but major problems remain. Everyday public is informed by media that there was shooting, stabbing, murder, fights and often those are put in the “breaking news” section, many morning citizens of Surrey get these with their first cup of coffee as “good morning message”.
Despite improvements done by the City of Surrey in Newton area residents are concerned up to that level that they don’t allow their children anymore to go out not even to go to the grocery store which is across the street or in their imminent neighbourhood. Many of them spoke with the Mayor and Council but so far nothing happened, why?
First reason is this is election year. Nobody wants to deal with high profile questions during this time because that could damager their chances in November or in 2015 on federal elections. More over nobody wants to confess that job is not done properly when it comes to public safety so PR campaigns and failures like this one in which criminologists are telling residents that lifestyle is a key element when it comes to your safety are deployed to put questions away. At the end voters will need to make final decision and to direct Surrey in the favourable direction.