Mayor Sets Up Task Force
Surrey has achieved a highly dubious record this year. 22 murders & counting. This is a new record. In 2005 when Surrey recorded 21 murders that was the most in one year. There were 20 murders in 2009, but since then, the rate has been declining, with 13 murders reported in 2010, 15 in 2011 and nine in 2012. But this year has been different. We have seen 22 murders so far this year in Surrey and the police are finding it hard to explain the reason.
The 22nd murder of 2013 happened on Monday in a house on 120A St and 99 Avenue in Whalley. The dead body of Mark Winston Berry (44) was found inside the house.
Sgt. Jennifer Pound, spokeswoman for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, noted Berry had “an extensive criminal record” dating back to 1987.
In 2012, Berry was at the top of an ICBC-released list of B.C.’s 10 most wanted car thieves.
“He was known to occasionally stay at the residence where he was found but was not a full-time tenant of the home,” Pound said.
“A post-mortem was completed which has confirmed that foul play was a factor in his death,” she said.
Now, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts has charged a special task force of police, educators and criminologists to examine the city’s rising murder rate.
“I will be striking a task force with the Surrey RCMP on drug and gang activity and the contributing factors of homicide. It will look at the spikes in homicides in Surrey that have occurred every four years: in 2005 at 21 homicides, 2009 at 20, and 22 in 2013. It will look at streamlining policing resources, including looking at the effects of mental health, identifying drug houses, reviewing our CCTV program and examining our policing service delivery model. Together with the Surrey RCMP, school district, and crime analysts, we will identify strategies to prevent people from engaging in a gang and drug lifestyle and to disrupt this activity in our community,” said Mayor Dianne Watts.
In a statement released to media RCMP Chief Superintendent, Bill Fordy, said, “Any homicide is of great concern to us at the Surrey RCMP. I must advise people who associate with those in a criminal lifestyle that your enabling behaviour could lead to tragic consequences. For those who choose to engage in criminal behaviour, we want you to know that you are not welcome in Surrey and that if you choose to embrace the criminal lifestyle you will end up dead or in jail. I have no doubt that the results of the Mayor’s Task Force will enhance our abilities to address these issues.”
By comparison to Surrey`s 22 murders, Vancouver has had five this year. The VPD has been proactive and as a result gangsters are simply heading out to the suburbs. Vancouver has also been running the Bar Watch programme since 2007. Bar Watch involves circulating a list of undesirable patrons and known gangsters to bars and restaurants. Those on the list are not served and are asked to leave the establishment. Same programme needs to run in Surrey as well. It is strange that it is taking Surrey so long to enforce this programme that has been highly successful in Vancouver for the past six years.