SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Just over two months after Mounties in Surrey made a notorious stretch of one local street one of the focus points of their crime prevention strategy, officers say they’re seeing success.
In December, the city’s mayor announced a dedicated team of 12 full-time officers and four bylaw officers would monitor 135A Street, also known as the ‘The Strip.’ The area is known for its homeless population, crime and drug activity. The area is monitored 24/7 and RCMP feel the coverage is paying off as they say, they are helping provide stability while increasing public safety.
As a result, Sergeant Alanna Dunlop says they’re also seeing a drop in crime. “When we looked at our ‘crimes against persons’ category, we saw a 24 per cent reduction year-over-year. So, that’s comparing this January, 2017 to January of 2016 and seeing that much of a decrease. That would include any crimes such as assaults, robberies — things like that.”
She adds they’re not surprised they’re seeing a positive change on ‘The Strip,’ given the team has been in place for such a short amount of time. “When we did look at last year and we saw the incidents increasing there and our calls for service there increasing over the last year — by providing the stability and being there 24 hours a day, plus the relationship building [we’re doing.] That includes with our community partners, the business community, residents around there as well as the vulnerable people — that really doesn’t surprise us that we’re getting this kind of a result this early.”
The team will continue to stay on 24 hours a day and a new RCMP office is being built in the area to help officers. “We’ll assess as we go. We’re currently working out of a temporary office and we’re waiting for an office to be constructed and will be installed, hopefully, this spring,” adds Dunlop.
She adds over the recent cold snap, the dedicated team of officers was also able to get 22 people into shelter beds. Dunlop credits that to not only the team, but the relationship they’ve built with those living on the street.