You can do the math here- there is nearly one weapons seizure every day in Surrey, and rest assured – this is the mere tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The Surrey RCMP have just created a Gun Enforcement Team with 17 officers that will be targeting the people who have more than one gun possession charge – visiting them personally to see what they are up to while on parole, and following them to make sure they don’t get into trouble. These are techniques similar to ones utilized in combating auto theft in Surrey.
Of course, where did I find this gem of reporting?
Not in any of the major papers and surely not on the evening news, but buried in our local community publication, The Surrey Leader, owned by Black Press.
Read the entire story here : http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/40157823.html#disqus_thread
“The creation of the Gun Enforcement Team (GET) of 17 officers is a response to what Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Fraser MacRae called a “significant” increase in the number of incidents involving weapons last year.
MacRae wouldn’t say how much the increase was, beyond noting 324 weapons (102 of them handguns) were seized in the city during 2008, an average of almost one a day.”
” MacRae said the announcement of the new team is a response to the spike last year, not a “knee-jerk reaction” to the current rash of gang-style killings in Surrey and other Metro Vancouver cities.”
So, although the recent gang shootings have done much to make residents angry about feeling unsafe on their own streets, this latest move would seem to confirm what I have been writing about for the last two years.
Surrey is not a safe city.
I know it, you know it, the RCMP know it.
So why all the fuss when we talk openly about it?
Why is it that a cohesive, city-wide effort to clean this mess up being continually passed over in favour of the completely ineffective, ‘ area by area approach’ – which clearly only pushes the problem onto someone else?
Now, back to the new Gun Enforcement Team – the creation of which is in response to a ” significant increase in incidents last year“, and not the recent gang related incidents. The Supt. would not say exactly how significant this increase was, yet I fail to see the harm in releasing that information to the public. An informed public is one that can govern their actions accordingly. It is also one that knows when to stand up and ask questions, demand answers and order some changes.
Keep the people in darkness and we can do nothing to change the status quo.
Although I applaud the creation of such a team, I suspect it will end in a bunch of ballyhoo without immediate criminal code changes to back their actions up. Time and money wasted? We’ll see. It must be pretty frustrating to be a police officer in my neck of the woods.
The truth is that unless the mayor and council finally step in and address the multitude of smaller issues that make Surrey such a mecca for the criminally inclined, nothing will ever change.
The availability of inexpensive and often sub-standard housing within Surrey, as opposed to other locales, is a magnet for the underprivileged and the poor. The same people who also happen to be some of the most vulnerable to drugs and the resulting addiction. Which of course, leads right down the road to petty crime – the preferred method for addicts to get money to sustain their habits, and which eventually leads to bigger and better criminal activity. Follow the money – or perhaps in this case, the lack of it.
When the small, street level dealers, criminals and addicts know they can get away with whatever they are up to, it sets the tone for the entire neighbourhood – something I see happening everywhere, in many different areas of Surrey. Where does it begin and where does it end?
That is not to mention that other people like the Morgan Creek residents, the South Surrey professionals, and the well-heeled family type,urban couples in Cloverdale are exempt from scrutiny because many of them are part and parcel to the success of the drug trade. We all know someone who has a stash at home for recreational use – it happens everywhere.
The couple who partake on the weekends when the kids are at a sleepover.
The summer time barbeque, the block party where all the dads are toking up behind someones house.
This is the reality of many residential neighbourhoods and like it or not, these people are just as responsible for the blood on our streets as the addicts in Whalley. We all have our part to play, whether it be the role of a victim, a buyer, or ignorant neighbour who prefers to look the other way.
Clearly it is time for a new direction.
Go to the mayor and have her address your concerns.
Ask her what she is doing to combat prostitution and petty crime in your neighbourhood. Where is the crackdown on those pesky dial a dope dealers? Where are the illegal suite inspections in mega homes the city inspectors approved – an essential point to prevent unscrupulous landlords who have altered their homes and are now renting to prostitutes ,addicts and petty criminals right under city noses? Most of all, ask her why there doesn’t appear to be a city wide approach to dealing with all of these issues. Knock them down in one area, and they just pop up in another. ( Thanks for that one Ken)
While pressure must be kept on the federal government to make much needed changes to the criminal code, pressure must also be kept on our municipal leaders to ensure they do not pass the buck along once again, ” because the federal government didn’t give us enough money”.