OPINION: Multi-level governmental meeting needed to solve Surrey’s crime problem

THIS is an opinion piece from DARLENE BOWYER of Surrey about the crime situation in Surrey:


I attended the forum at Tamanawis High School last week dealing with the current crime issues in Surrey.

I appreciate the work that is being done by our RCMP and know that this is a very trying time for all police departments that are investigating this matter. It is hard to get evidence and lay charges when there is a code of silence from both the victims and their families.

There is a reason these young offenders are doing these crimes. They feel that nothing will happen to them even if they do get caught. If they knew there was a serious consequence, they would think twice before they got involved. It’s that revolving door of justice that keeps these type of crimes occurring in our communities. Now even the families are supporting them in their illegal activities, with their code of silence, as they are bringing in tens of thousands of untaxed dollars to the household every year.

Although the forum was informative, I thought that a lot more time could have been dedicated to listening to the audience. Using the first hour and a half telling us what was being done gave control over the evening events, but it was information we already knew from the TV, radio and newspapers.

It was good to see that the Mayor [Linda Hepner] is now willing to talk about crime issues in Surrey. If you do not talk about your problems ,you are not working towards finding solutions.  I still  feel there  a disconnect and that  resonated with the  gentleman who told mayor and council that they need to get out of their palace and into our communities where we can see them actually involved with trying to find solutions to our community problems. He received the loudest applause of the evening.

I did not leave the meeting feeling that it was all smoke and mirrors, our Officer-in-Charge [Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy] did a good job and I felt he truly does care . The rows of politicians that were there did not engage with the audience very well afterwards and unfortunately  I felt that they were only there to save face with their electorate and for the photo op . I tried to have a conversation with my MLA afterwards, he was happy to see me but he was more interested in doing a television interview and off he went.

I was encouraged by the story told by the young man brought in as an example of a success story for the youth at risk program administered by the School Board .

On the other hand, another  young man from the audience  said he saw the pictures of the persons of interest posted in the paper by the RCMP and was not surprised at who they were. He went to school with them and everyone knew they were up to no good…so this tells me that there are many of them falling through the cracks, if fellow classmates knew they had chosen the wrong path, teachers certainly should have known, and it went unreported.

I do not want to hear one more time that the public is not at risk. When we have shootings throughout our neighbourhoods and streets in the middle of the day, we are at risk.  Personally, if I had done my banking 15 minutes later a couple of weeks ago, I would have been right at the corner were the bullets were flying.

When the City of Vancouver had crime problems in the late 1990 ‘s all levels of governments met and the Federal government came forward with millions of dollars to help them put together safe injection sites, put in programs and beef up their police department. A document was put together called the Vancouver Agreement. For a year and a half now, Surrey community associations and groups have been requesting that the City of Surrey put together a multi-level governmental meeting so that we may find solutions to crime problems in Surrey.

Possibly have our own Surrey Agreement.

We are still waiting.