Barinder Rasode launches 360-degree plan to fight crime that leading public safety experts endorse

SURREY mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode on Thursday released her 10-point plan to crack down on crime and make Surrey one of the safest cities in Canada. The 360-degree plan was developed in collaboration with senior law enforcement professionals and includes new investments in policing and crime prevention, as well as a new Office of Public Safety to coordinate the efforts of Surrey’s crime fighters.

“The wait-and-see approach hasn’t worked – it’s time for action. Both my opponents seem to believe that doing things the same old way will lead to different outcomes, but it is clear to me that only a real change in approach will work. For too long the city has muzzled police and ignored the community’s safety concerns. And, money that should’ve gone into public safety went elsewhere,” said Rasode.

“We need to hire more police, and get them out of their cars and into the streets. We need to keep our children out of trouble and on the right track. We need to empower our community leaders to address their concerns. And, we need to crack down on crime when it happens.”

Rasode said leading public safety experts agree with her.

“Barinder’s public safety plan is excellent and it will help make Surrey one of the safest cities in Canada,” said Chief Constable Jim Cessford of the Delta Police Department, who helped Rasode develop the action plan. “Her community-based policing model, which incorporates best practices from around the country, is tailor-made for the City of Surrey and will be an effective strategy to reduce crime and improve safety.”

“Surrey is facing a number of public safety challenges and it’s important that new strategies to tackle the issues are based on evidence and can be measured to ensure the highest level of effectiveness. The plan Barinder has developed is comprised of collaborative and innovative solutions that will help reduce crime and set new standards for public safety in Surrey,” said Professor Curt Taylor Griffiths, from the SFU Police Studies Program, who also provided input into the strategy.

The action plan includes 10 key strategies:

  1. Building a community-based policing model.
  2. Fostering a sense of community responsibility in our neighbourhoods.
  3. Engaging community partners to make change.
  4. Using problem-solving strategies to eliminate the root causes of crime.
  5. Targeting high-risk and high-crime areas and properly managing chronic offenders.
  6. Advocating for change in how we treat mental health, domestic violence and youth issues, while protecting our aging population.
  7. Providing comprehensive care for victims of crime.
  8. Establishing community courts to solve problems around mental health, addiction and domestic violence.
  9. Listening to and empowering citizens through community consultations.
  10. Keeping young people out of trouble by providing educational, economic, recreational and cultural opportunities.

To help implement the new plan, Rasode will create an Office of Public Safety for the City of Surrey, which will manage policing, fire, by-law services and a new Community Safety Team. The Office will work for the citizens of Surrey to reduce crime and improve public safety.

Each neighbourhood in Surrey has problems unique to that area.

To address these issues, the new Office of Public Safety will be responsible for:

* Establishing a funding model to get more officers on our streets.

* Holding neighbourhood meetings to understand concerns.

* Identifying problems and implementing strategies to eliminate the root causes of crime.

* Assigning city staff to assume responsibility of a neighbourhood and be accountable to its residents through an effective reporting structure.

* Researching, hiring and training the new Community Safety Team.

* Building a policing model where community safety personnel respond to non-priority, low-risk calls, so that our police can focus on fighting crime.

Rasode is committed to acting on a number of new safety strategies, including:

* Collaborating with the Surrey School District to determine the most effective ways to deliver drug and gang awareness education.

* Identifying, assisting and mentoring high-risk teens to prevent crime before it happens.

* Working with the provincial government to help at-risk youth access skills training and employment opportunities.

* Dealing with unsightly properties and problem residences. The “broken window theory” proves that addressing petty crimes such as graffiti, fare evasion and broken windows has an effect on reducing violent crime overall.

* Creating an enforceable strategy to hold corrupt or neglectful landlords accountable.

* Using working groups to address the needs of our youth and elderly, families suffering from mental illness, and victims of domestic violence. Working groups on traffic and transportation safety will also be established.

* Providing oversight of halfway and recovery houses in Surrey.

* Curfew checks of offenders with court conditions to ensure compliance.

* Holding interdepartmental public safety meetings to identify problems, develop collaborative strategies, assign tasks and establish a reporting structure that ensures accountability.

“This is a critical time for our city, and we need a public safety model that is based on trust, accountability and community partnerships,” said Rasode. “We have made a lot of progress in our city, but safety is the foundation of happiness and prosperity. When communities live in fear, health suffers and opportunities are lost.”