A tale of two cities.. or.. ‘Perspective is everything’

The city of Surrey’s version: https://www.surrey.ca/community/6803.aspx

Today, Whalley, also known as North Surrey, is a thriving urban centre, home to SFU Surrey, major shopping and recreational facilities, Surrey Memorial Hospital and destination parks including Green Timbers Urban Forest, Bear Creek Park and Holland Park.

North Surrey is a culturally vibrant community, playing host to the Surrey Tree Lighting Festival, Surrey’s annual celebration of winter, and Fusion Festival, a 2-day multicultural event featuring music, food and culture. It is also home to the Surrey Arts Centre, a hub of local arts and cultural activity.

Located in the heart of North Surrey, Surrey City Centre has been identified as the region’s second downtown. It is currently seeing the development of a burgeoning civic precinct, home to a new flagship library, city hall and performing arts centre. In recent years, Surrey City Centre has also been the focus of significant residential and commercial development. SkyTrain provides convenient access to downtown Vancouver and the rest of the region.


The RCMP’s version: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/North+Surrey+worst+auto+theft+Vancouver+Metrotown+vehicle/8964258/story.html

The analysis found that three postal code areas in North Surrey — V3R, V3T  and V3V — have among the worst stolen auto rates in the province.

The worst of the three, V3T — an area that includes three SkyTrain stations  and Central City Shopping Centre — had an average annual stolen auto rate of 653  per 100,000 residents, more than four times the provincial average of 143.

RCMP Sgt. Gary Rodricks, head of Surrey’s Auto Crime Target Team, said North  Surrey’s high rate of auto crime is likely due to a combination of poor  neighbourhoods and large parking lots. While Surrey has been trying hard to  revitalize North Surrey, Rodricks said, the area remains one of the poorest  parts of the city and a popular place for criminals to congregate.

“Some of the renters are good, some of the renters are not so good,” Rodricks  said. “I joined the RCMP in 1993 and some of the problem apartment buildings  then are the same problem apartment buildings we have now.”

Combine that with huge surface parking lots — at the Scott Road and King  George park and rides and several local malls — and you’ve got a recipe for high  auto crime, he said.

The last thing a car thief wants is to be surprised by a vehicle’s owner  coming back to their car. That makes many of the cars parked in North Surrey  particularly attractive, said Rodricks: People commuting to work on SkyTrain are  away from their cars all day.


2 thoughts on “A tale of two cities.. or.. ‘Perspective is everything’

  1. Hi Laila,
    It must be a slow news day )….. If this statistical argument is your basis for reporting on how good/bad things are in Surrey. Some perspective on this and other issues could argue the very opposite that things are better than ever.(in Surrey)
    You are correct of course, perspective is everything. However, its far to easy to use it as “a tool” to make your case as I here it, against the City.
    On most points I will always agree with you Laila…. just not this one. Car theft is a problem everywhere and I suspect that will continue until increased police resources are brought to bear.
    As I have in the past, reiterated, its a big ship that will take time, energy and resources to turn back into the wind. On this point of view, most everyone in Surrey is better off today than they might have been if not for Mayor Watts and her leadership accomplishments.
    Can we do better? I hope so. And perhaps, with a little less popcorn raining down from the balcony.
    Best regards,


  2. Mike, just like the RCMP’s own crime stats don’t lie, these numbers do not lie.

    However, both can be spun. I’m not spinning, I am pointing out a vast difference in viewpoints between people on the street – the RCMP – and people in offices – the city.

    I have several friends within city hall and the RCMP who wont go on the record because they fear it will impact their jobs, but acknowledge firsthand that crime is a big issue in Surrey that the Crime Reduction Strategy has not been able to overcome it.

    This is the issue.

    Yes, the city has worked hard in Whalley. But it is still Whalley.

    Central City mall has some wonderful businesses I frequent regularly, but keep my purse close and stick to well lit areas and don’t go after dark.

    King George between King George Station and.. .well… to the Patullo bridge is unreal, and I think you know that. Very much like Hastings at night on the DTES.

    You can plunk a Ferrari down in the middle of a poor neighbourhood full of crime, but the Ferrari doesn’t make the poor neighbourhood go away…nor will moving the city hall there, or the library, which has so many security guards its unreal… or the mall, that has an equal amount of security guards.. None of these things will turn Whalley into Yaletown!

    This RCMP officer has worked in the area for a very long time. He sees what I see. Its going to take a lot more than architecture to change this area, and it wont happen in the next twenty years even. Where will the city put all these people? Its akin to putting 54 square blocks of Robson into the middle of the downtown eastside. The poverty surrounding that new core is real, and it is visible. And you cant pretend it isn’t there, because it is.

    Now… if you like in Morgan Creek, or South Surrey, or Crescent Beach…. you might say Surrey is amazing, so fun and so wonderful…. but when you look at the growing number of community associations and groups springing up in Newton, Cloverdale, Fleetwood and Guildford, you find a very different story of poverty, crime, overcrowding, etc..

    The people who live in the enclaves that are wonderful, drive past the areas that aren’t… and often have a clue what is going on… and that is a dangerous perspective, because it doesn’t reflect the reality of the city at large. Ask yourself why there are so many vacancies with respect to business units in the city Mike.


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