Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts should have taken action much earlier

Dianne Watts & Bill Fordy
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy.
BETTER late than never – or is it because there is a civic election later this year?

Nevertheless, although Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts claims that her action plan to crackdown on crime – after all these years of inaction – is working and will continue, we will have to wait and see what the results will be.

Releasing the recommendations on the work of the Mayor’s Task Force on crime on Friday, Watts said: “I’m encouraged by what my Task Force has been able to achieve in such a short time period. I want to assure the people of Surrey that continuing to confront and disrupt criminal behaviour is my number one priority.

“I will continue to reach out and work with anyone in the community who shares this goal. We will take any idea that will work, no matter where it comes from. The Mayor’s Task Force was struck on November 18, 2013 to address the issues relating to the city’s homicides. Since that time Task Force partners have been actively disrupting criminal activity in the city’s most high risk locations.”

The Task Force’s “High Risk Location” initiative is a partnership between Surrey RCMP, Surrey Fire Services and Surrey Bylaws. Together, they have created a seamless database and rapid deployment initiative to more seamlessly address locations that pose the highest risk to public safety. Recognizing that the vast majority of Surrey’s homicides stemmed from lifestyles involving drugs and other criminal activity, the Task Force has increased enforcement efforts at these high risk locations in the city where drug trafficking and other crime occur.

Since the creation of the Mayor’s Task Force on February 14, the following results have been realized through the High Risk Location Initiative:

* 175 arrests made
* 53 criminal charges recommended
* Over 340 high risk locations investigated and/or inspected
* 15 search warrants executed
* 8 locations demolished or awaiting demolition
* Inspected 144 unregulated recovery homes
* Over $90,000 and 14 vehicles seized as offence-related property
* 122 street checks

“We are targeting locations that mirror those where homicides have happened in the past,” said Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge, Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, who has dedicated 49 specialized officers to the initiative. “It is generally these types of locations where those living high risk lifestyles come together and create an increased risk to public safety and potentially violent crime.”

“All of the stakeholders involved in this Task Force are focused on increasing public safety and reducing crime in our city,” said Watts. “We are encouraged by the results so far, however the real success will be seen in the long term changes and technologies that we can put in place to effect permanent change. We will not rest until the job is done.”