While two weeks of spring break is taking my attention elsewhere, I’ll be spending less time blogging, and concentrating more on a number of stories needing investigation. The BC Liberals seem to be up to more than a few of their old tricks with the Massey Tunnel replacement issue- I’m working on this story currently - and of course, SNC Lavalin is again in the news - this story will be coming shortly.
Of course,I can usually be found checking in on twitter or facebook,and still check my emails frequently.
However, a column sent to me this morning was so well done, I really wanted to share it, particularly with my Surrey readers who have asked me for help in getting something done about the ‘temporary’ slot machines that now may become permanent with the death of the South Surrey Casino.
While this column doesn’t get into this issue at all, it reminded me of the issues of ongoing break-ins and thefts that continually plague the Newton area in ‘hot spots’ reported weekly to block watches and concerned citizens … which bring us back to policing in the city and the recent move by Surrey mayor Dianne Watts to install CCTV along Colebrook road.
Since January 1st, there have been 11 murders in 11 weeks in Surrey.
Looking back at yearly totals available on the Surrey RCMP website, which now only list 2011 and 2012 crime stats to the public, this is usually the cities average for an entire year.
Sometimes more, sometimes less, but in a city this size,even with as many gangs as we have operating here, 11 murders in 11 weeks does not bode well for 2013. Homicide investigations take time,divert officers and investigators from other priorities,it is a fact. There are only so many officers to go around on a shift.
Multiple homicides also play havoc on the cities policing budget for the year, which makes it all the more ridiculous that $80,000 is being spent on CCTV and motion sensor lights that will more than likely be vandalized by people in masks who can’t be identified whether or not a light goes off or not.
I know this particular area well, since it very close to a popular recreational area known as Mud Bay, where people of all ages go to ride bikes, walk etc. And I was not at all alone in calling this a reactive move when it first hit the press, stating clearly in various social media forums that the money was better off spent on policing, since we don’t have nearly enough officers in a city that is experiencing non-stop population growth. Many agreed wholeheartedly.
Michael Booth of the Surrey Now, nails it in an excellent column and gets right to the heart of the issue. ( Colebrook road runs right below Panorama Ridge, a coveted upper middle to high income earning neighbourhood that has flexed its muscle power with the city once already when it came to mega homes.)
Here is an excerpt from his column:
What the cameras and sensors are almost guaranteed not to catch are criminals dumping bodies on the roadside. All of the attention the area has received of late, coupled with publicity about Surrey’s jacked up infrastructure in response to the bodies, means only the dimmest of thugs will be making late-night drives along Colebrook Road in the foreseeable future.
Such altered behaviour patterns means the city’s $80,000 is essentially wasted.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and city staff are in a tough spot on this one. The rising body count certainly is a blow to all of the positive work done by Watts and Surrey council to clean up the city’s image.
Residents who live in the area certainly don’t want corpses scattered nearby and given the socioeconomic demographic of the neighbourhood, their complaints are more likely to be heard by city officials than if bodies started turning up in, oh, let’s say, vacant lots in Whalley.
What’s that you say? Bodies of crime victims and drug users do turn up regularly in North Surrey without extra city dollars being spent on extra lighting and cameras?
Well, good news! Once the new City Hall opens in Whalley, the city’s priority list should change dramatically.
Now read the rest of this courageous column over at The Now: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/Brightening+deadly+road+wasted+effort/8130759/story.html
The issue of crime in Surrey- ( which,incidentally, has increased for a number of crimes most apt to impact residents here like residential break ins, thefts from autos and auto thefts -see link above to RCMP stats, read 4th quarter summaries, year to date from current year to last)- is an issue not just for municipal politicians,but provincial ones as well.
Current NDP and Liberal MLA’s in the city would do well to look at what they have done, or can do, to assist in restoring cuts to justice system elements that are have resulted in court backlogs and increasing wait times for trials.