Surrey RCMP combatting crime during pandemic

AS the fight against COVID-19 in the community continues, the Surrey RCMP says it is closely monitoring any changes in crime and adapting police response accordingly. 

Surrey’s comprehensive crime statistics for the first quarter of 2020 will be published at next week. However, RCMP say they understand many residents are concerned that certain types of crime may have spiked more recently, as a result of COVID-19 and the increased self-isolation and business closures. 

In looking at the data for domestic violence calls, auto crime, and break and enters over the past month, Surrey is experiencing both increases and decreases, when compared to the same time period in 2019. While it is important to note that four weeks is too short of a timeline to accurately determine trends, RCMP say they have noted a small increase in domestic violence calls (nine additional files), decreases in theft of and from vehicles (41 less files), and an increase in business break and enters (48 additional files).

RCMP point out that this data is based on crimes reported and not investigative outcomes or charges; it is also subject to scoring changes as investigations advance. It is too early to evaluate to what extent COVID-19 has impacted these or any other crime types; however, RCMP crime analysts continue to monitor the calls for service on a daily basis. In addition, the Surrey RCMP rolled out a number of measures in March to help mitigate potential impacts on crime in Surrey.

These include: 

• Increased daily patrols around Surrey businesses that have been closed as a result of the pandemic (over 700 security checks of businesses conducted since March 27);
• The launch of the COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team with Surrey Bylaws to ensure compliance with current health orders (4,280 proactive visits and patrols were completed between March 26 and April 14);
• Redeployment of their School Resource Officers to the frontline; and
• Increased focus on managing known prolific property crime offenders in the community. 

RCMP say their officers with the Police Mental Health and Outreach Team continue to seek out vulnerable people who may be suffering from mental health issues, addiction or homelessness. Those in need are referred key services like shelter, food, addiction or medical treatment.

RCMP’s Mobile Street Enforcement Team has also maintained a highly visible police presence with foot and bike patrols throughout the city. 

“Surrey RCMP recognizes that the needs of youth and families continue during this challenging time, which is why we are maintaining important community support services via phone including our Victim Services, Family Youth Resource Support Team (FYRST) and Parent Helpline (604-599-7800). The Surrey RCMP is taking proactive steps to ensure that the safety of Surrey residents will not be compromised during the pandemic,” says Cpl. Elenore Sturko.