Famous last words from Dianne Watts :

….Responding to a  2007 crime survey revealing Surrey residents do not feel safe in their  own neighbourhoods :

[Mayor Diane Watts] believes it’s a case of perception over reality, with Surrey residents responding to the city’s cliched image of a crime-plagued municipality.

“While there are some concerns about safety after dark in the city as a whole, most people feel quite safe in their own neighbourhoods. “

“Statistics show that crime is decreasing across the board in Surrey. However, many people do not realize this, their perceptions often shaped more by anecdotal stories and media coverage than factual crime data.” 

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=79d5f5f6-3b52-46d4-a487-74ca94153dd0&k=20967

Hmmm…..

Clearly,  Dianne Watts is right. I guess that we are all  just imagining that the brazen targeted shootings, blatant drug trafficking, and robberies have nothing to do with personal or public safety. It’s just the media’s fault.

http://www.theprovince.com/news/Surrey+shootout+Friday+leaves+residents+fear/1237665/story.html – Shots fired in the middle of the day in a busy Surrey intersection

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Argument+leaves+shot+crashed/1054565/story.html – Man shot in Vehicle in Surrey in busy intersection during the dinner hour.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/38474819.html- targeted  drive by shooting in quiet family neighbourhood in Newton area of Surrey

http://www.canada.com/surreynow/news/story.html?id=22f8c13f-d413-4f76-a9b3-451f17fa6cb2-  suspects arrested after rash of 13 armed robberies all over Surrey

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/38335819.html0 – Surrey woman shot in stomach during robbery

http://bc.rcmp.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=50&contentId=7906&languageId=4 – Surey resident shot after attempted break-in/home invasion

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/35235689.html – Suspect  arrested in series of 6 violent armed robberies  in Surrey where two clerks were shot

Need I go on?

 This  is only the “big” stuff that I’ve mentioned here. The incidents that make the news, create some buzz for reporters.

There are an ongoing stream of smaller stories in our local neighbourhoods all the time.

The grow-ops.

The  growing number of crack houses that never seem to get shut down

The  residential vehicle break-ins that go unreported because they happen so often people can not claim ongoing damages. 

Garage break ins. Petty theft. 

Prostitution  along King George, in the crappy little hotels between 68th ave and 64th ave, that has now moved into Panorama Ridge. 

The addicts that harass you for cash and cigarettes.

The Newton rec centre roof overhangs and walkways have become mere shelter for the dealers and addicts to buy and sell, and smoke pot and shoot up. There are children’s recreational programs located within these walls, a pool, swimming and skating lessons. But fitness isn’t the only thing kids learn going in and out of this city owned building.

We aren’t imagining this fear of walking alone after dark, and we aren’t imagining the creeps that follow us either.  

 Time for the mayor to re-visit her crime prevention strategy, and take a closer look at the statistics that are clearly skewed when the data qualifiers are read. This isn’t something that can be fixed with a superficial band-aid of beautification and pride inspiring  community projects.

Safe communities are proud communities. Work on that and the rest WILL naturally follow. You can fake the image all you want, but when the sun goes down, the cover of darkness reveals the true nature of the beast – and in many parts of Surrey, it’s not an incorrect, ” cliched image of a crime-plagued municipality”  that’s keeping us indoors, it’s a realistic fear based on actual events that happen with increasing frequency.

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4 Responses to Famous last words from Dianne Watts :

  1. Surrey says:

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/opinion/38408649.html

    Fresh commentary from Abbotsford – doesn’t mitigate your point, but provides a broader perspective

    • Laila says:

      The fact that your comment comes from the city of Surrey itself is interesting, and pleasing at the same time. Perhaps I am getting my point through.

      Yes, I have heard from several of my Abbotsford readers that crime is rampant on the streets, and perhaps seems more intense because it is relatively new to the area in terms of media attention on a larger scale. That being said, if one takes a closer look at the reported statistics from Surrey, one can easily surmise that the media has concentrated on reporting that Dianne has done wonders on the car theft front- and I believe that statistic to be true, however, is it due to her efforts or to citizens becoming more aware of how to prevent car thefts? Every car has a club or an immobilizer now, making car theft harder than ever. However, the gang problems, petty, drug related crimes are proliferating and lending an increasingly uneasy feeling to residents as the problem is pushed from area to area to yet another area.

      Rarely have I heard anyone remark how safe it is here, and how they enjoy the freedoms that come with living in a safe neighbourhood. I lived in Richmond for years before moving here, and enjoyed the benefits of living in a neighbourhood where the residents often strolled the sidewalks in the evenings to enjoy the night air, and I can tell you that it does not exist here in Newton, or Fleetwood, or Whalley. It is shocking to me to see how complacent some longterm residents have become to living this way. Some people assume it is like this all over, which simply is not true. Never once was I accosted or harassed by addicts or hookers in Richmond – a common occurrence in Newton if one tries to go for a walk.

      Talk to real people living in these suburbs and they will give you the honest truth, free of “data qualifiers” that skew the representation of how “safe” Dianne’s efforts have allegedly made us.

      The issue with crime statistics is the information used to compile the reports is ended with data qualifiers that make it clear the information can not be counted as completely accurate. For example, look at this report from the Ministry of Public Safety. http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/police_services/regionalprofiles/docs/greatervancouver.pdf

      Scroll down to the bottem and read the date qualifiers, in particular number 4, where it reads :

      ” If a single criminal incident
      contains a number of violations of the law, then only the most serious one is recorded for UCR purposes.
      Number of offences represents only those crimes reported to, or discovered by police which, upon preliminary
      investigation, have been deemed to have occurred or been attempted; this data does not represent or imply a
      count of the number of charges laid, prosecutions conducted, informations sworn or convictions obtained.”

      In other words, if a guy goes in and vandalizes a store, steals some money and goods, beats the clerk, threatens a customer, then shoots someone who is killed instantly on the way out ( a single criminal incident that contains several violations of the law) the only crime recorded for the purpose of this report is the most serious one – in this case, the murder. Hello. This would seem to easily skew the information given.

      What about crimes that are reported but no suspectis apprehended, or the crimes where charges are stayed or dropped for whatever reason? What about all the unreported crimes that occur everyday?
      My question would be for you, how broad of a perspective does one need when you are looking out for your family and your neighbours and the rest of the community?

      Time for Dianne and her council to spend some time in our shoes, and walk the streets in our neighbourhoods for a week or two. Then, and only then, will she understand the exasperation myself and other residents are feeling. I extend an off the record invitation to her or any council members to join me for a walk in my neighbourhood, so that she can see firsthand the concerns. No cameras, no press, just her and I and a look at what goes on while shes at work in her office.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I live in Panorama Ridge North. On our street, a cul-de-sac, neighbours walk over and intriduce themselves and exchange phone numbers when a new family moves in. If we see a strange car or truck sitting parked, at least one person walks out and boldly writes down the license number “just in case”. We take in garbage cans and newspapers for neighbours who are away. We wave at each other and smile. We know the phone numbers of most of our neighbos “just in case”. Yes, the Mayor and council need to be made aware but as neighbours in this village we also have a responsibility to be pro-active no matter if there is a language difficulty with new neighbours or if they dress differently or if they have a paler skin. If you fear walking alone, why not invite a couple of neighbours to join you? Look at passers-by in the eye and claim your territory. Hookers and pimps hang out – usually – in dark corners and empty streets. they don’t want your attention. The best defense of your community is an offense. Get in their faces!

    • Laila says:

      It would be nice if this were the case in all neighbourhoods Madeline, but unfortunately it is not. Unfortunately, some people in Surrey think the current state of affairs is completely normal and the ” way things are”. Some of my neighbours have openly said they dont want to get involved.
      We are not that far apart, to be sure, but the pimps and addicts here do not hang out in dark corners and empty streets. We are getting increasing numbers of indigent people and addicts who like to commit opportunistic crimes. 132nd st, is quite a busy street, and yet the hookers are out with no fear, as are the addicts. I do ” claim my territory”, and confront people when the need arises, however when I have my young children with me, I am not about to endanger their lives by chasing off some miscreant who is likely carrying a knife or a transmittable disease.
      How much more proactive do we need to be, when we have a mayor who doesnt think there is a problem in the first place, Madeline? How irresponsible is it for a politician to ignore the feelings of residents completely, and worse yet, say that they are downright wrong, even when faced with incident after incident? Not everyone lives in cozy little cul-de-sacs where the neighbours of like minds. In some areas residents do not mix,for whatever reason, and despite the best efforts of others to improve the situation.

      When residents see leaders acting proactively with residents best interests at heart, when residents see that politicians take their concerns seriously,and they feel safe, things might improve.
      Right now, I see a mayor who wants to make everything appear fine, and look cosmetically good, but does little to address the criminal issues that will continue to plague our Newton town core, and the ever increasing circle of neighbourhoods that surround it.

      Just now, breaking news about another shooting in Guildford mall, at the dinner hour. Good God, how much more evidence do we need that something isnt working here, and that residents dont feel safe?

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