Surrey RCMP says the newly-formed policing unit and bylaw team that’s working the city’s so-called “Whalley Strip” is having a huge impact.
Sergeant Alanna Dunlop says ‘crimes against persons’ in the area are down nearly a quarter year-over-year for the first month of 2017.
“When we did look back at January, and we looked back at comparing to last January, as far as crimes against persons when we conducted that analysis we found there was a 24 percent decrease in crimes against persons. ”
Dunlop says it’s an encouraging sign, and one the force hopes to build off of.
“When we look at that, it does indicate to us public safety increases as well as bringing stability to the area.”
The drop is credited to the new “Surrey Outreach Team” which is made up of 12 police officers and four bylaw officers working the Whalley Strip 24/7, an initiative of Surrey’s new top cop Dwayne McDonald.
The stretch of 135A Street – just a block from City Hall – has become a hotspot for homeless campers and addiction and mental health problems.
That’s in part because of the nearby clustering of services.
Both a Lookout Society shelter and the Positive Haven social service centre are on the strip, with the Surrey Food Bank just a block away.
The city and RCMP’s response until now had seen regular early morning visits by police and bylaw officers to roust the locals and clean up trash.
There are now plans to move the new unit into a permanent office on the strip in the spring.