Surrey's Newton area sees large spike in property crime
SFU criminologist says crime migrating to Newton from Whalley
A Surrey RCMP first quarter report on crime trends show an increase in property and violent crime in Newton, where hockey mom Julie Paskall was recently killed during a violent robbery.
The 53-year-old woman was attacked in the parking lot of the Newton Arena on Dec. 29 while waiting to pick up her teenage son Cailean, who was refereeing a hockey game that night.
According to the report, property crimes are up 51 percent in Newton, compared to 11 per cent for Whalley in the first quarter of this year. Violent crime in Newton is also up — 10 per cent.
In contrast, violent crime In Whalley, traditionally Surrey's worst neighbourhood, is down four per cent.
Quarterly report a 'snapshot'
RCMP say the quarterly report is only "a snapshot in time" and subject to change for a number of reasons. It says the statistics are drawn from the police PRIME records management system and represent incidents that upon further investigation may not always be substantiated
However, SFU criminologist Rob Gordon says the numbers are large enough to indicate criminals are moving to Newton from areas like Whalley, which is seeing significant redevelopment after a major anti-crime push.
"There may be a group of chronic offenders or a cluster of chronic offenders," said Gordon of the large spike in property crime in Newton.
He says RCMP need experienced, streetwise officers, familiar with Surrey's criminal element and able to disrupt their criminal activities.
It's not hard to do," he said. "They just have to get out of their cars and start working at it."
Surrey RCMP spokesperson Dale Carr says some police officers were reassigned after two sex trade workers were brutally assaulted.
"We had a number of our resources that were assigned to property crime, reallocated to investigate some crimes against people." said Carr.
Now that three men have been charged, the officers will go back to dealing with property crime, said Carr.
The Newton Community Association says the death of Paskall shows how dangerous even robbery is and says something needs to be done about rising crime in their neighbourhood.
Their concerns come just months after Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts released the report of her task force on crime, promising more police and enforcement.
A report last week to Surrey's police committee also recommended the hiring of an additional 30 police officers.
With files from the CBC's Meera Bains