When growing pains become intolerable, the community needs to act.

This… is my Surrey.

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Beautiful, yes? We have beaches and sunsets to take your breathe away, parks and trails, farms that grow incredible local produce and fruits and fields of daisies to lay down and dream in.

“Communities in fear” 

And with summer upon us and school out the end of next week, thousands of families will be out enjoying all of it. Summer is the time to stay up late, play in front of your house, walk to the local Dairy Queen to get a chocolate-dipped cone. Lay on your front lawn in a pup tent and pretend to ‘camp out’.

Except talking to some local parents this morning still reeling from the two shootings that took place in Sullivan and Cloverdale last weekend, letting their kids play outside in the evening is the last thing they are going to be doing.

“Jaspal said she heard three to four shots at around 10:15 p.m. At first, she dismissed the loud pops as fireworks, then she heard sirens and saw police cruisers swarm the roadway, and yellow tape go up.

“I had just come home from work. If I came home a bit later, I could’ve been outside,” she said.

Another neighbour heard the gunshots but also thought they were fireworks until she saw police officers using a flashlight to examine the houses on the street, and cars parked in driveways, for stray bullets.

Two residences were struck by bullets, said police. No one was hurt. One bullet struck a garage door, while Jaspal’s home had what appeared to be bullet holes on the side of the house.

Maha Elias was rattled by the incident and said she plans to talk to her husband about moving elsewhere. They had moved from Victoria to Surrey in what Elias said “supposedly was a good neighbourhood.”

Now, she is worried and is telling her daughter to stay away from the windows as a precaution.”


“The Highway 10 shooting occurred just a day after another targeted drive-by shooting in the 5700-block 152nd Street on Friday night that left two men injured.

The men were sitting outside their home when more than 30 rounds were fired at the house, one bullet grazing one man in the head and another hitting the other man in the foot, said a relative. A dark-coloured sedan was seen fleeing the scene.”

No one should ever have to tell a child not to go by the windows because they are worried about getting shot. Yet in both cases,families with children lived in close proximity to the events that unfolded and it’s a miracle no one was hurt. It’s been the same in many of the over 30 shootings that have happened this spring, such as the case where a young girl bravely grabbed a younger playmate and took her to safety as shots rang outside on the street.

This is not how it should be, this is not right, and yet it continues as fear mounts now that bullets are hitting homes of innocent people. Yes, violence can happen anywhere. We know this. But to negate the ridiculous number of shootings that are occurring here sometimes on a nightly basis by saying that is to stick your head in the sand!

We all want a better city, a safe city where kids can feel safe to camp on the lawn on hot summer nights, but that just isn’t going to happen right now until the people behind this violence are stopped. And that omerta code of silence among friends,families and victims is why it doesn’t.
A parent’s desire to protect a child they know is involved in this lifestyle, does not trump a communities right to live in safety and without fear.

” Crime knows no cultural or racial barrier “

There’s something else that needs to be said here. There is a growing sentiment in our city that is alarming for its naivete. Many are now blaming every bit of violence and crime in the city on what law enforcement referred to as a low-level turf war between South Asian and Somali dial a dope operations.

Let me remind you that to date, it has been reported that just over half of the 30 thirty shootings have been connected to that ongoing dispute. So who is behind all the rest? Blaming all the issues in Surrey on South Asian/Somali youths doesn’t cut it. You want a reality check? Go sit in the Surrey Court house for even one day and look at the court lists of people attending criminal court.

Drug running, drug production, drug purchasing and all the trickle down crime that results, knows no racial or cultural barriers in our city. There may be cultural issues that must be acknowledged and addressed in dealing with aspects of it differently, but there is no barrier to where it begins and ends.

 “Growing pains” 

As Surrey’s population continues to grow, the cracks and holes in the required social infrastructure are starting to show, and requires city leaders that aggressively advocate for more funding from provincial and federal governments. This has now become more something more than growing pains.

As secondary suites continue to provide lower cost housing, we will continue to attract low and middle income families,some of whom will require social supports – it has been acknowledged we do not have enough to meet the need. As population grows, so do our policing needs- people forget police don’t just deal with gang issues, but a variety of calls that come non-stop. We do not have enough and as new officers arrive they are gobbled up by those lost to retirement, transfers, sick leave etc.

And most importantly, prevention.The money invested in prevention,in keeping kids from heading in this direction, will save money on policing,court costs,social services etc down the road. There should be no wait-list for kids at risk on the WRAP program-those kids need to be reached today, not next year!The mayors council just spent millions on trying to get a yes vote in the transit referendum and you are trying to tell me our city can’t find the money to get those kids on the waitlist help?  Parents need resources to access when they need help,or suspect their child may be heading down the wrong path.

 “But what can I do?” 

As someone who’s written of our issues often,I’ve heard from many in Surrey over the last three days,good people concerned about what is going on, and who are looking for guidance and reassurance. And this is what I have to say:

This is not a time for the community to become divided in fear or by ignorance. If ever there was a time for our city to unite, it is now. Those 80 new RCMP are not coming soon enough. We need to build bridges with each other and with our city leaders and law enforcement.We need to continue to actively and assertively lobby the province and the federal government for more resources.

If you are a parent concerned or scared about what your child may be involved with, here are some resources for you. Please,reach out and make that call: http://surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=1510&languageId=1&contentId=6366

If you are a landlord,ensure you are doing the proper checks before renting – simply accepting cash with no background could lead you down a world of pain and put your family at risk. http://bclandlords.ca/

If you know something, anything – no matter how insignificant it seems- about any of these shootings, please call RCMP, CrimeStoppers or the gang tip line: http://surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=97&languageId=1&contentId=25672

Surrey is full of amazing people. There are incredible change-makers in our community who have stepped up to and families who want to make a future here. There is too much on the line, and we need to do this together.

Because it is no longer enough to sit on the sidelines, shake your head and grimace at the news. Our city depends on it. 

23 thoughts on “When growing pains become intolerable, the community needs to act.

  1. Sympathies. Lots of them. But rallying won’t do it. Community meetings won’t do it. The police won’t do it.

    People have to do it. And that means BBQ’s with neighbours, helping old people with house repairs, chatting with strangers, loaning tools, quilting bees and all that other sappy stuff that somehow works but takes gobs of time – time people no longer have because they are trying to ‘make a buck’ all the time.

    But it also has to be done for young people with triple the effort because they are even more isolated and -with modern weirded-out uber safety standards – insulated from ‘life’ and living in their heads. And on their phones.

    These kids need Outward Bound, YMCA, Scouts, sports leagues, forests to explore and the unrivaled experience of a few skinned knees.

    Maybe even modern versions of that which might include game networks and community centre-sponsored e-leagues. It is hard to pull the trigger on a guy you played baseball with. Surrey could also use a small army of youth workers.

    Sadly, it usually gets worse before it gets better because poverty (chasing $) and exclusion are currently stronger forces than community right now. You have my sympathies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed and so well put. It takes a village. We do have several community associations but the membership among them is not as high as would be nice to see,thanks to everything you’ve mentioned above.
      I really hope to engage people and get them involved in some manner,to see that connection between the apathy and how small actions can make improvements.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. this has been happening in Surrey for decades and it continues… the RCMP are ineffective and ALWAYS want MORE MORE MORE…. if the community should act it seems that vigilante squads are an option… the current and past \admin in surrey was more involved in “expansion” and cutting down trees…. I see no solution other than moving


    1. I’ve been an outspoken critic of some of the decisions made by upper level RCMP in the city, but the men and women out on the street are working like crazy.

      I recall a time when OIC Bill Fordy asked for a certain number of officers, only to have the city approve a lower number – a decision that was quickly revisited.

      Moving is not an option for many people- nor should it be! When building and growing a city in transition, civic leaders have to take care of the basics along with the new features. Police numbers must keep pace with population- Vancouver and other cities have not had the same issues to the same extent because their numbers are higher per population, and they do not have the hurdle of covering such a massive geographic area.

      All of this has been acknowledged by the city of Surreys own expert. Inadequate police staffing levels combined with loss of roadable officers due to retirement,sickness,leave, maternity/parental etc. leaves a city lagging.


      1. I propose a policing structural sea-change. The RCMP has to re-structure so as to include a ‘lesser-grade’ officer. Lots of them. This member will not be armed, will not be a ‘get-on-the-ground-NOW!’ type. This group of officers, armed with phones and computers will be cheaper for the budget to handle. Gentler, too. They will drive Priuses and bikes. Even scooters and use shank’s mare. They will do community outreach and paperwork and much of the ‘gathering of information’. They can ‘walk the streets’. They can be grannies, retirees, even officers-in-training and their main job is to bear witness and be like community-wide security guards. NOT vigilantes but vigilants. And they will outnumber the ‘force’ by a huge margin. Save the jack-boot marine wannabe types for the ‘confrontations’ and arrests. Call this proposal a re-allocation of resources.


  3. Good article! Will it help? Not so much. There may be a federal election coming but the new RCMP officers won’t be. The feds got their photo-op and that was good enough. The RCMP needs a new CEO. Fordy has been at it too long and just isn’t effective.

    The people in Surrey need to take a look in the mirror. Surrey had problems prior to the last civic election and what did the people of Surrey do? Elect the same bunch, just with a worse face lift. The people in Surrey don’t want to pay higher property taxes, so they aren’t going to have the number of police officers they need nor will the civic government be able to pay for additional programs.

    Vancouver and Surrey have about the same number of citizens, but Vancouver has 100 more police officers and a chief who actually has an idea of what policing is all about. His salary is paid by the citizens of Vancouver. Surrey’s chief of police, well his salary is paid by Ottawa and Ottawa decides when and where his next promotion will be. Any police officers coming to Surrey will most likely be out of the depot. Gee a bunch of newbies, just what Surrey needs.

    The provincial government just doesn’t care, in my humble opinion; nor will the current bunch ever care. They may perhaps when 10 of their friends are shot or killed in a 2 week period but short of that, do not expect any level of government to do anything. The “photo-op queen” and her cabinet are too busy with LNG, liquor stores, and looking after themselves and friends to deal with the problems of this province. We do need to remember B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada and still doesn’t have a poverty reduction strategy. We know what the reports regarding children in the care of the provincial government have had to say. Was anything done. NO. Neither will anything about the crime, rate.

    Blaming the shootings on visible minorities is simply a form of racism. if the police are suggesting these are shoot outs between “gangs” in the drug business, at a low level, then they must know something about them. They could try arresting them, even if it means they are released shortly thereafter. Many people know where these “drug dealers” do business. Gee do we think Fordy could arrange for a few officers to go and arrest a bunch of them and keep them over night and keep doing it.

    If Surrey had their own police dept. the council and mayor if they cared, could have simply hired recently retired police officers and brought them on staff for 6 months to deal with some of these issues. But no, surrey has the RCMP because its cheaper. Well you can pay now or you can pay later, but you will pay and it looks like the citizens of Surrey are going to be paying for some time.

    it is fortunate no one has lost their life, but that will happen, eventually, but unless 10 people of upper income are killed in upper income neighbourhoods in a 2 week period, nothing will happen to improve the situation in Surrey.


    1. You make a good point. The city is in crisis right now with respect to this issue and I don’t see it getting better.

      Many longtime Surrey First supporters are questioning whats going on now. The public reaction and response of the mayor to all of this is leaving many shaking their heads in wonder: http://www.surreyleader.com/news/307676351.html

      “Despite the shootings, Hepner stands by her ongoing claim that Surrey is a safe city.

      “I consider this city safe, but I consider this issue top of mind for every politician and police officer,” Hepner said. “I’m going to stick with my ‘safe city,’ but a safe city in desperate need of solving this intolerable issue.”

      * bangs head on desk…..


  4. If old Harper took that bar out of the very expensive RCMP digs which almost butt up against city hall the RCMP could, if allowed, be able to their jobs. That bar must go not now but right now.
    Soooo, in my world city council needs to be cleaned up or out and so do the RCMP.


    **Jean,edited.You know why.


  5. We keep bringing back B.C. Liberal MLAs, Surrey First slate, and Federal Conservative MPs as our elected leaders. And then cry about the crime and other problems in our Surrey.

    It is the problem of the human nature of the members in our community that is short sighted, selfish, ridden by greed for lower taxes and smell for higher capital gains from real estate and development market.

    It is the doing of the members of our own community who will spend hours drinking in the bars, play video games, or golf, but will not come to vote or have huge egos to work with others.

    It is the doing of the mainstream media or the people who work in the mainstream media who have sold their souls by not writing the truth to save their salaried job and follow the corporate interest (their bosses), year after year.

    They can see their community crumbling down, but fail to say the truth in editorial after editorial. It is our elected leaders who tow the party line without saying a word for their constituents.

    Problem is everywhere, health, education, taxes, natural resources…. It is the problem of the human nature that breeds on mediocrity.

    These are the people who let the homeless be homeless, let the children be overcrowded in schools, let the children live in poverty and come hungry to the schools, workers fired from well paying government jobs, let single mothers work on minimum wage, only they can keep electing same corrupt parties in municipal, provincial and federal.

    Do they have any heart? I doubt it. They don’t seem humans anymore. They have lost capacity to feel for others and it seems like a disease of self-centeredness.

    Solution: well, how many will come to a civil disobedience march? It needs mass organizing and civil obedience by selfless people without any political interest, who are ready to give themselves to such movement and may be if come to power are willing to take living wage.

    I wonder, how NDP being a worker’s party, their MLAs take 100k plus in salary, where as workers get 10.25 per hour. Let alone the B.C. Liberal MLAs, who are already the slaves of the large corporates.


  6. I could stop laughing during this evening’s news. The Mayor of Surrey has spoken! she has a solution to the shootings: yes a real solution. Make those shot pay their own medical bills. Ya, right. Where did that woman go to school. Why did her handlers let her out on her own. My god if stupid was a word for her, I don’t know what else is. they must have had some of that juvederm filler go to her brain. But we do clearly know why Surrey has the shootings and we now know they aren’t going to be going away. With leadership like the Mayors, get ready for a whole lot more shootings.

    Appealing to the “families’ of the shooters is plan stupid. Do they even have families that they are in touch with? If they have families and their families haven’t “dealt” with it yet, do you think they are going to start now because some politician or cop asks them to? Not so much. If the shooters have family, their families are not going to “give them up”. Those are their family members.

    What Surrey needs to do is find a new Mayor, a new RCMP C.E.O., and a council who can hire some one to come up with a strategy, because they do appear to be too stupid to do it themselves, or just don’t care, because one of theirs hasn’t been killed yet.


    1. I agree on many points.

      Not one single resident in this city deserves to live with this going on right beside them. ”

      If it had been a civic leaders home that was hit by stray bullets instead of the unlucky innocent families whose homes were hit Saturday, I doubt she would be saying she still believes this is a safe city. There would be extreme outrage and heads would roll behind closed doors.

      It’s so insulting for those impacted and traumatized by the violence, for the mayor to say she is sticking with the line it’s safe. And really, I was disappointed. I know she ‘gets’ it. I know this is a public relations nightmare for any city. But let’s deal with the reality that in many areas, kids will not be outside in the evenings.


  7. “There is a growing sentiment in our city that is alarming for its naivete. Many are now blaming every bit of violence and crime in the city on what law enforcement referred to as a low-level turf war between South Asian and Somali dial a dope operations…..”

    At the risk of being branded an insensitive naive racist….I beg to differ.
    The police have publically appealed to the East Indian community to come forward with information about these and many other violent crimes.

    The East indian community has a well ingrained distrust of authority either due to experiences dealing with corruption in India at all levels of govt OR their parents stories about the old country.
    Either way,, they aint talkin to the police.


    I believe the police superintendant is quoted as saying their investigations are met with “deafening silence” in the east indian community………

    So , like any other community within a community that doesnt trust the police or local govts. They talk and talk and talk and ignore the 800lb gorrilla in the room.

    Their kids have been sucked into a drug, guns and money lifestyle and until their community is willing to admit they have a problem and DEAL with it………..
    The shootings and killings will go on and on and on and on.
    And the parents with bury their children……….


    If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck then I guess I’m naive to call it a duck?


    1. I don’t disagree that it is primarily youth in the south asian community and somali community are involved in some or many of these shootings. But read what I wrote again: “Many are now blaming every bit of violence and crime in the city on what law enforcement referred to as a low-level turf war between South Asian and Somali dial a dope operations…..”

      I have heard and read the racist remarks being made that go far beyond these shootings and that is what I am referring to.One can read it in the comments below newspaper items. Suddenly it’s all south asian and all Somalians behind everything that is wrong in Surrey- it’s not true and that is my point.People living in Newton often see young white guys on bmx bikes or mountain bikes known as ‘rats’ scanning cars and homes to break into. You dont hear people saying, ” oh it’s those white people,thats their culture.”

      That’s what I am referring to. There is a culture of silence in most families where a child is involved in the drug trade or other illegal activity, regardless of colour. And a timely reminder that when RCMP initially posted a photo of several victims that were unco-operative with police,there were white guys on the page too.


      Only 18 of the far more than 30 shootings have been solidly connected to the dial a dope turf war between somali’s and south asian groups.

      So who is behind the rest?


      1. Well, people being people.
        The public will jump to knee jerk conclusions.
        Unfortunately the ‘deafening silence from the East Indian/ Somali communties isnt helping either……..
        Sooner of later an innocent person/child will be killed a la the Montreal Biker wars of the 1990’s and public outrage will boil over.

        Then the politicians and the police began to act.
        Who knows
        But I dread the results.
        In the immortal words of a Boot Hill Cemetary epithet.

        Here lies George Johnson
        Hanged by Mistake in 1882
        ‘He was right
        We was wrong
        But we strung him up
        And now he’s gone”


        1. I agree. I worry about the same thing, every single day.

          Everyone just wants it to stop. Every night there are sirens. Every day my email box and messages are full asking if I know what happened last night. Many shots fired never make the news if they can’t find bullet casings that have gone off into woods or elsewhere.


    2. You are not a racist if it’s true. You are not a sexist, if it’s true. Truth trumps all. But most issues are NOT racist (or sexist) ones. They may, however, be CULTURAL ones but the actual skin colour doesn’t influence that much, if it all (gotta keep an eye on them albinos, tho). “So, which culture should I blame?” Good question. Most ‘immigrant’ cultures come here steeped in their own cultural constructs and ways of living and they cannot make the shift to being a Canuck that quickly (how long would it take the reader to settle in to a 5-prayers a day Muslim culture?). In fact, there are studies that say that it takes three generations of dysfunctionals for the fourth one to settle in. Immigrant Adjustment programs help bridge that gap but immediate and fair employment for parents and teens does it way,way faster. Throw in sports and social events and you have a chance. If not, get used to it – Canada needs immigrants and we simply do the job of incorporating new citizens very badly. Harper and CC don’t want to do it at all.


  8. Well folks, we have seen the enemy, and the enemy is us.

    WE are responsible for elevating some of the more dubious amongst US to high places, and then wring our hands,
    cry crocodile tears, and protest when aspects of OUR society go to hell in a hand basket.

    Until WE collectively either correct our ways, or hold those that we have already handed the reins to account, the chances of reducing the glaring injustices that we foist upon the weakest in our herd are slim and none.

    Case in point, EVERY time our Premier appears at a Public Event, we should be there, talking over her photo op, demanding she bare all concerning the missing emails, the Firing of the Medical 6, etc.etc. The largest demographic in B.C is the baby boomers (yes, me) who have nothing but time, to right this sinking ship.

    what will it be folks?


  9. As a victim of three thefts from my home in Surrey, my son’s car (used to attend Brain Cancer treatment) stolen on the day of his grandfather s funeral. Surrey RCMP gave a number over the phone. What exactly do they do? Why do we need more Officers who do nothing? If you don’t have surveillance cameras and alarms to catch the crooks for the Police they won’t respond. Do you think the shopping cart people own those carts or are they in possession of stolen property. The common reason for not enforcing the law is they will be out before the paperwork is done. I spent many years working on the ramp at YVR the flight I loaded for Naniamo was often back to be unloaded before the paperwork was done maybe I should have been more like the Police and just ignored the load as I would just have to do it again?No more excuses the RCMP need to do thier jobs and if the courts choose not to proceed so be it; it that is not the officers job to decide what crimes are enforced . Sorry for the rant but I think the lack of Police in Surrey is a crutch used by the Detachment far to often hiding incompetence or lack of leadership.


    1. We need the no call too small regime Delta has always had. But to be very honest, we do not have anywhere near the capacity of officers on shift to do that. Reporting is still very important regardless because those stats are used to justify funding and resources.

      I sense your frustration. Many feel the same way Les. So sorry to hear about the untimely theft of the car. 😦


  10. LACK OF RCMP LEADERSHIP! How correct. It really is time to replace Fordy. He has spent his whole career in Surrey. He hasn’t done much nor will he be required to do much. He has been there so long, I’m sure he knows were all “they bodies are buried” amongst the politicians. Once Fordy is gone and a new commander installed things may actually improve in Surrey


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