British Columbia

Surrey RCMP neighbourhood safety meetings begin tonight in Newton

Surrey residents will once again have the chance to talk with their local police officers in the first of 10 community meetings tonight in Newton.

Tonight is the first of 10 meetings the Surrey RCMP plan to host this year

Surrey residents attended a Surrey public meeting in 2015 after a series of shootings left the community rattled. (CBC)

Surrey residents will once again have the chance to talk with their local police officers in the first of 10 neighbourhood safety meetings tonight in Newton.

Surrey RCMP began the initiative last year with the aim of enhancing livability in the city and saw 900 people attend. Crime statistics from 2015 reveal mixed results, with property crimes going down last year while violent crimes went up.

But Inspector Ghalib Bhayani says more nuanced changes point to success.

"Our expectation is exactly what we saw last year, which is increased community engagement, increased community mobilization," said the RCMP community support and safety officer.  

"Increase in block watch recruitment last year [was] as a result, I believe, a direct result of these meetings."

The number of break and enters in 2015 went down by 16 per cent, car thefts went down by 26 per cent and thefts from cars went down by 26 per cent, according to Bhayani. Meanwhile, Surrey RCMP numbers also show a 211 per cent increase in the number of attempted murders, from 9 to 28.

Bhayani says the force has made several important arrests in relation to last year's series of shootings.

People are encouraged to continue reporting any crimes they witness, he said.

"We're actually seeing an increase in our reporting and we believe this is a part of this outreach."

The Surrey RCMP will host tonight's community meeting at Dr. F. D. Sinclair elementary school at 6:30 pm.


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