….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.”
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 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.