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Award-Winning Crime Reduction Strategy Lowers Crime and Helps Vulnerable Citizens

May 28, 2012

Surrey – The City of Surrey continues to develop effective programs and targeted outreach initiatives to increase community safety, according the 2011 Crime Reduction Strategy Annual Report, which will be officially unveiled at tonight’s Council meeting.

“Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy continues to evolve and strengthen in order to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “Over the past year, in collaboration with the RCMP and our community partners, we’ve introduced new problem-solving approaches to deal with specific issues in our community. We’re helping vulnerable people, creating new partnerships, and addressing the root causes of crime in order to improve the long-term health and safety of Surrey.”

Key 2011 Highlights:

Crime Rates 2006 – 2010

Breaking and Entering: -28.1%
Motor Vehicle Theft: -40.9%
Property Crime (Total): -24.5%
Violent Crime (Total): -9.3%
Total Criminal Code: -15.9%

*figures for 2011 are expected to be available in July 2012

CRS Wins Provincial Award

The City of Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy won the 2011 Solicitor General’s Crime Prevention
and Community Safety Award in the local government category. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in the area of promoting and implementing crime prevention and community safety strategies.

City Watch

The program was officially launched in 2011 with 531 City staff trained during the year. City Watch training continues and is now a standard course offering for City employees.

Business License Outreach

In 2011, a total of 969 businesses were contacted by a Community Safety Officer (CSO) in relation
to this program. Follow up actions were undertaken by the RCMP and support staff.

Joint RCMP and Transit Police Project

In February 2011, a new Surrey RCMP and Transit Police partnership office opened at the Surrey Central Skytrain station. A team consisting of one Surrey RCMP officer and one Transit Police officer began to implement a variety of strategies, including high visibility foot patrols.

In 2011, the team won the Surrey Board of Trade’s ‘Arnold Silzer Community Policing Initiative Award’.

School District iR3 Program

IR3 stands for Intervention-Rethink, Refocus, Reintegrate, and the program is an alternative to home suspension for students in grades 6-8 who are facing a first-time (or early intervention) suspension for substance use or aggressive behaviour (threats, physical violence, bullying, weapons).

2011 highlights include:

• iR3 was expanded to encompass all schools
• 87 students participated in the two-day intervention program
• 313 students received follow-ups throughout the school year (over 800 visits conducted)
• 12 youth were referred to the Stay Real Program which is led by the Substance Use Liaison

Child and Youth Friendly City Strategy

This strategy was adopted by Council in late 2010, and 2011 marked the first full year of work on this initiative. It includes various programs to support the healthy development of Surrey’s children and youth, including the Surrey Leadership Youth Council, which had a successful year of engaging youth in social and community planning. The highlights include:

• A 4th annual Youth Speak Up! forum in April 2011 where more than 80 youth were engaged in dialogue about community planning and community issues
• Monthly youth cafe discussion nights were hosted at the North Surrey Recreation Centre
• Youth were involved in the 2011 EnergyShift youth forum

Crime Reduction Stakeholder Forum

On October 4, 2011, the City of Surrey Crime Reduction Strategy Office held a stakeholder forum, which brought together representatives from a wide variety of stakeholder groups to network and collaborate. Over 50 delegates representing 40 agencies attended and the feedback was very positive.

Substance Use Awareness Week

In 2011, the City of Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy Office began a very successful partnership with multiple agencies (Alcohol and Drug Education Services, the B.C. Responsible and Problem Gambling Program, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, the Fraser Health Authority, Klay-how-ya, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Options Community Services Society, Pacific Community Resources Society, SOURCES Community Resources Society and the Surrey School District). The 2nd annual Substance Use Awareness Week (May 27 – June 2) is designed to increase public awareness about signs and symptoms of substance use, where to find more information, and how to get help.

Wire Theft Response

In February 2011, the Crime Reduction Strategy Office developed the Inter-Agency Wire Theft Committee with representatives from the City, Surrey RCMP, TELUS, BC Hydro, Cobra Electric, the Ministry of Justice – Police Services, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Surrey Crown Counsel, Canadian National Rail Police, Rogers, Shaw. The committee focuses on education and awareness; law enforcement education and awareness; investigations; and legislation.

The City continued efforts to lobby the Province to enact legislation to support municipalities in the regulation of Scrap Metal Dealers. On November 4, 2011, Bill 13 - the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, was introduced in the Legislature. Expected to be in full effect in July 2012, the Act will make B.C. the first Canadian province with legislation that targets scrap metal transactions.

In 2011, 18 RCMP Neighbourhood Liaison Officers and Community Safety Officers as well as approximately 70 general duty RCMP officers were trained in “Taking Action on Metal and Wire Theft”. In addition, a Bylaw Officer was tasked with making regular inspections of the metal recycling facilities in Surrey.

These efforts resulted in approximately 35 arrests in 2011 in Surrey, compared to 6 in 2010.

“While we continue to work on community issues, we have seen real progress in improving the quality of life for Surrey residents. Moving forward, the City will continue to build relationships and dialogue with residents and businesses to address crime through a collaborative approach,” says Councillor Barinder Rasode, Chair of the Community Safety Committee.

The City of Surrey introduced the CRS in June 2006 to guide the work of City staff in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders to reduce crime and increase public safety across the City. The strategy serves as a key document and reference point for the work which occurs across all of the City’s departments.

The four primary objectives are:

1. reduce crime and increase community safety
2. increase public involvement in reducing crime
3. increase integration between all stakeholders involved in crime reduction
4. improve public awareness around the reality and perception of crime

These objectives are to be achieved through 106 recommendations which fall within four
strands:

1. Prevent and Deter Crime
2. Apprehend and Prosecute Offenders
3. Rehabilitate and Reintegrate Offenders
4. Reality and Perceptions of Crime

For more information, please visit: www.surrey.ca/crimereduction.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584