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Innovation and Collaboration Reduces Crime and Increases Safety in Surrey

May 09, 2011

Surrey – Community partnerships, innovative programs and public involvement in the reduction of crime has led to increased safety and healthier communities in Surrey, according the new Crime Reduction Strategy (CRS) Progress Report, which will be officially unveiled by the City of Surrey at tonight’s Council meeting.

“As part of Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy, we’ve collaborated with the RCMP, over 50 community groups, hundreds of individuals and all levels of government in order to develop innovative, community-based solutions to crime reduction and safety,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “While there is always more to be done, the work of the last four years has resulted in many new partnerships, holistic problem-solving approaches, and progress in addressing the root causes of crime in our city.”

The CRS Progress Report provides a comprehensive overview of the key achievements related to the recommendations in the Crime Reduction Strategy, which was implemented in 2007. The CRS serves as a key document and reference point for City staff in every department. Some of the key progress highlights include:

Crime Rate Reduction (2006 – 2009)

  • Total Criminal Code: 10% decrease
  • Property Crime (Total): 19% decrease
  • Violent Crime (Total): 5% decrease
  • Breaking and Entering: 20% decrease
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: 24% decrease

2010 figures will be available in Summer 2011, but preliminary analysis conducted by the RCMP for the period of 2009 – 2010 indicates continued decreases in each of the categories.

Electrical Fire Safety Inspection Program (EFSI)

The program was initiated in 2005 and was one of B.C.’s earliest examples of applying an administrative solution to a problem that had previously been addressed only through the criminal justice system. The Program is a partnership between Surrey Fire Services, RCMP, Electrical Inspections and By-law Enforcement.

Results from 2007 – 2010:

  • 65.3% reduction in marijuana grow operations

Results from March 2005 – December 2010:

  • 1,256 locations have been rendered safe
  • 945 locations have had electrical power terminated
  • 312 locations have received electrical repair notices
  • 121 residences with unsafe electrical wiring were identified as also housing 234 children (however, there were no children observed in these types of residences in either 2009 or 2010)

Community Safety Officer Pilot Project

The project began in 2008 with 10 uniformed officers (two in each district) who are providing high visibility foot patrols, taking part in community outreach events and supporting crime reduction initiatives, including security assessments, pawnshop audits and enhancements to the Business Watch program.

Enhanced Safety at SkyTrain Stations

In 2008, Transit Police introduced the new Crime Reduction Unit. This plain clothes unit responds to safety problems in identified hot spots such as curbing illegal drug activity at transit exchanges.

Crime Analysis

The new Surrey RCMP Crime Analysis Unit is helping to identify prolific offenders, crime hot spots, crime trends and problem premises in Surrey.

Community Schools Partnership

The new Community Schools Partnership (CSP) brings together parents, community agencies, municipal departments and school administrators to create a continuum of support services for children and their families. It addresses barriers to learning and provides resources and support.

Response to Illegal Drug Operations

Expansion of the Meth Watch Program:
 
The program was launched in 2007 and has 188 participating businesses as of 2010. Under the program, the Surrey Fire Service provides inspections and educates businesses about the sale of products that can be used in the production of methamphetamines.

Marijuana Grow Operations:

The Surrey Fire Service has developed a unique partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley to conduct leading edge research. The document titled “The Community Response to Marijuana Grow Operations – a Guide Towards Promising Practices” and the supplemental research document titled “Responding to Marijuana Grow Operations – a Community Handbook” are two excellent examples of this research.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

The City and the RCMP, in partnership with residents and businesses, have focused on addressing environmental factors that attract or support criminal and drug activity. The City has applied proven Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles (i.e., improving lighting and sight lines, pruning trees, removing unwanted debris and graffiti) to sites and buildings across the city.

Neighbourhood Beautification

Under the Community Enhancement Partnership Program (CEPP), which was introduced in 2010, the City provides grants to assist organizations in neighbourhood-based beautification projects, activities and celebrations.

WRAP Program

The gang intervention program was launched in January 2009 by the Surrey School District, in partnership with the Surrey RCMP, the City and community service organizations. The youth involved in the program have had reduced police contacts by 67 per cent.

Provincial Partnerships in Housing

In 2008, the City of Surrey signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Housing to develop supportive housing projects for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. From 2006 until April 2011, a total of 272 new social housing apartments and 198 new beds have been added in Surrey. Three projects are currently under development:

  • Timber Grove: This 52-unit supportive housing development is an Olympic legacy project that is converting modular housing units from the Whistler Athletes Village into permanent housing.
  • Alder Gardens: This 36-unit project will house single women with children.
  • Creekside Health and Housing Centre: This addiction centre will include a 25-space sobering assessment centre, a mental health and addictions clinic, and 68 transitional housing units.

“Since 2009 we’ve helped 356 people in Surrey get off the street and into permanent housing with the supports they need,” says Mayor Watts. “In 2007, we established the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund, the first of its kind in B.C., and the City has provided close to $10 million to the Fund. Working in collaboration with community organizations and other levels of government we are creating a healthier more inclusive city by providing safe, stable housing solutions.”

The City will continue to implement the recommendations in the CRS, which has four primary objectives:

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 on community safety and crime reduction in Surrey, please visit: http://www.surrey.ca/plans-strategies/3100.aspx

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584