Overall crime in Surrey down 14% in 2020

SURREY RCMP announced on Thursday that crime in the city continues to trend downward with a 14% decrease in overall Criminal Code offences for 2020. Statistics for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 and the year-to-date totals have now been published on the Surrey RCMP website.

Violent crime decreased in 2020 both in Q4 (-19%) and for the year overall (-9%).

Homicides saw a 43% decrease from 2019 (nine fewer murders), while attempted murders saw no change.

Surrey had 34 shots-fired calls in 2020 compared to 45 in 2019, which is a 24% reduction.

This said, the violence associated to the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict increased in late 2020/early 2021 with homicides throughout the region including Surrey, noted Surrey RCMP.

The Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) has been deployed with an aggressive plan to target criminals who put the community at risk. This targeted plan includes curfew checks, Outlaw Motorcycle Gang clubhouse checks, Inadmissible Patron Program checks, and targeted provincial and federal statute investigations.

Drug trafficking is the primary criminal enterprise of gangs and continues to be an investigative priority for Surrey RCMP. Many significant drug seizures were made throughout the year (see 2020 news releases), which helped to disrupt gang and drug trafficking activity in the city.

The purchase and use of drugs continued to negatively impact the health of Surrey citizens. Surrey RCMP officers used Naloxone when attending 87 suspected overdose files in 2020.

Although robberies declined by 23% in Q4, there was an overall increase for the year of 11%. A number of robberies in 2020 resulted from the use of online marketplace applications. As such, Surrey RCMP increased education and public awareness efforts on this trend throughout the year, and it continues to be a priority for its Robbery Unit this year.

There was a 6% decrease in sexual offences in Q4 compared to the same period the year previous. However, there have been a persistent number of sexual extortions throughout 2020. Consequently, additional public awareness initiatives were undertaken throughout the year cautioning internet users of cyber crime trends and promoting internet safety.

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a variety of unique duties for Surrey RCMP. In response to the new responsibility for enforcing BC public health orders, Surrey RCMP partnered with Surrey Bylaw Enforcement to form the COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team (CCET). Only 2% of the team’s thousands of compliance checks in 2020 were found to be non-compliant, and 48 violation tickets were issued. CCET continues to provide guidance and education to local businesses, faith-based organizations, parks and residences to ensure compliance with COVID-19 health orders.

Overall property crime declined by 16% for the year, and 25% in Q4. All areas of property crime showed decreases in 2020, including a 17% reduction in break and enters, a 19% decline in theft from vehicles, and a 2% decrease in fraud.

Breach/bail violations increased by 10% in 2020, reflecting the work of the High Risk Target Team and Strike Force Target Team, who work to ensure that the most prolific and violent offenders in our city are complying with their court-ordered conditions.

“I’m impressed with how our officers and support staff adapted so quickly to new challenges presented by the pandemic,” says Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge. Despite those challenges we were able to implement important COVID-19 safety measures and decrease crime across the city.

Surrey RCMP said its quarterly crime stat report is intended to create better awareness and understanding of the incidence of crime across the city and help inform community engagement and crime prevention.