Shootings in Surrey spark concern among residents
Police say recent spate of violence is not linked to last year's drug turf war
A recent spree of gun violence in Surrey, B.C. is causing concern among residents in the area, but police say recent shootings differ from last year's gang-related violence.
The latest shooting took place early Sunday morning near 132nd Street and 110th Avenue. There have been about a dozen incidents of gun-related violence so far this year.
"It's really frustrating to the residents of Surrey that this continues to go on and on," said Darlene Bowyer, a coordinator with the Surrey Association of Sustainable Communities.
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But police say none of the shootings in 2016 is linked, and there doesn't appear to be a connection to last year's feud between two rival drug gangs.
For that reason, the RCMP says it won't comment on the spike in gun violence.
Still, residents are worried.
"We can walk across Scott Road and into Delta and they don't have the problem that we have in Surrey. Why is that?" said Bower.
More police officers coming
Mayor Linda Hepner and her party, Surrey First, campaigned on hiring 100 new police officers. So far, 90 are currently working and 10 more are on the way.
But Surrey is one of the fastest-growing communities in the province, and that's why council plans to hire more officers in the future.
"We have identified an additional 16 [officers] per year over the next few years," said acting mayor Vera LeFranc. "We think that is going to meet the need. We do want to keep an eye on it though."
Late last year, the city also hired Terry Waterhouse as the city's director of public safety strategies to put together new policies. The rollout of his vision is expected later this year.
"We know that we can't accomplish all of crime reduction and prevention through policing alone," said LeFranc. "It takes a full community. It takes more than just policing, so we need to have a fully integrated strategy."
Last year's drug wars died down after several arrests were made, and the streets were calm once again. Residents say they hope they'll go back to being that way soon.