Surrey needs 200-member community policing team

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Surrey City Hall

We all know crime is rampant in Surrey. Finally, someone is recognizing that at its core, the Vancouver suburbs’ most pressing issue that needs to be tackled is crime.

Councillor Barinder Rasode is calling for a new community policing team, consisting of 200 personnel, to address the growing crime problem in the City of Surrey. The team will target problem areas and deliver new crime prevention and public safety programs.

Currently, only 36 RCMP officers are working in shift at any one time, but Councillor Rasode does not believe this is sufficient for Surrey’s high population, rapid growth and large geographic area.

“I have repeatedly heard that we need to put more resources into community policing if we’re actually going to fix Surrey’s crime problem, because our RCMP officers can’t resolve the issues on their own.” says Councillor Rasode. “We need to create a second tier of policing that will deliver an integrated, well-orchestrated community safety strategy.”

The team would include 120 community safety officers to patrol and serve Surrey’s six rapidly growing town centres. These members would be trained by the City and the RCMP and would address the unique needs of individual neighbourhoods, conducting foot and bike patrols and other specialized tasks. By-Law officers within this section would be given a new role and new powers as Community Peace Officers. They would assist the police and allow the City to more effectively enforce its by-laws.

She adds that more needs to be done to help high-risk youth, and the number of officers working within the schools has not kept up with the growing population.

“One-third of Surrey’s population is under the age of 19, and we must make sure they’re guided on a path to success. That means finding and helping the youth that need our support.” Rasode is proposing 38 school liaison officers work inside Surrey’s 19 high schools to assist and mentor teens.

She is also proposing a 24-member Business Watch Program to enhance relationships between businesses and the police, and to address the crime and nuisance activity that is affecting their livelihood.

The rest of the team will be comprised of other neighbourhood community safety partners, such as volunteer ambassadors, community mobilization teams, and other personnel who would target hot spots and focus on crime prevention.

The team would work closely with the City’s valuable partners, including the Surrey Crime Prevention Society and social service agencies, to establish a comprehensive community safety program with an emphasis on ingenuity and collaboration.

“Our community is calling out for help, but the police can’t do it alone. It will take additional resources to improve public safety, but the City has the money to deal with this complex, yet fixable, problem,” she adds the City’s revenues totaled $788.5 million last year. “It’s time to realign our priorities, fund crime reduction strategies, and create a safer city.”

 

Featured Image: Manny Bahia/Vancity Buzz

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