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Violent incidents down in Surrey, but Newton crime rates still high

SURREY (NEWS1130) – Murders and other violent crimes are on the decline in Surrey so far this year according to the statistics on crime between January and March of 2014. But one city councillor says that’s not the case for Newton, with property and sex crimes still a problem.

Barinder Rasode is still calling for more police officers, and says even though the city will be adding 30 more officers to the force. But Rasode warns not all troops added to the city will be working in the Newton area, where she says they’re most needed. She says Surrey would still need 25 more officers this year to meet planned targets to add 95 positions in the next five years.

Despite media attention following the beating death of hockey mom Julie Paskall outside of Newton Arena in December, the statistics for the surrounding area are not positive. “What we’ve seen in Newton actually is an increase in overall crime and actually more crime in the first quarter in Newton than all that happened in all other parts of Surrey year-round,” says Rasode.

In addition to the 30 officers planned for this year, the city has hired 20 Community Safety patrol personnel, half of them sent to work within the Newton area. But Rasode says the contract is only for 36 weeks, and she’s worried they will not be able to handle high-risk individuals.

The solution, according to Rasode, is more crime mapping and other technology put to use in the city, but that’s not all. “We need to be looking at more officers, more foot patrols more bike patrols, more engagement on community based policing, and more accountability and transparency in terms of the sharing of information with the public.”

Rasode claims just prior to the attack on Paskall, there was a similar assault nearby that wasn’t shared with the public. Police have yet to many any arrests related to Paskall’s death.