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Police around Metro Vancouver step up patrols after mass shooting at New Zealand mosques

Last Updated Mar 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

'We have stepped up our patrols to alleviate their concern,' says Cst. Elenore Sturko with Surrey RCMP

'We have increased patrols around mosques in the Burnaby community,' says RCMP Cpl. Daniela Panesar

LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – A day after the shooting at two mosques in New Zealand left 49 people dead, local police say they have stepped up their patrols.

Cst. Elenore Sturko with Surrey RCMP says members with its diversity unit have spoken with leaders for mosques in that city, who have expressed concern, in the wake of the mass shooting. “They’ve asked for increased police presence around the community. So, we have, in fact, stepped up our patrols to alleviate their concern.”

Leaders from around the world have condemned the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, with some saying it’s evidence of a rising tide of violent and anti-Islam sentiment.

Read more: 49 killed in mass shooting at New Zealand mosques

Sturko emphasizes they have not had any reports of threats to mosques in Surrey.

“We’re working with them to make sure that people feel safe as they come together for prayer,” she said.

Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Daniela Panesar says members in that city are doing the same. “We have increased patrols around mosques in the Burnaby community, trying to address any specific safety or security concerns.”

“We have members that are going to local mosques and engaging with the Muslim community … We just want to make sure that we’re letting them know that we’re doing what we can to address any safety or security concerns that they may have.”

RELATED: Local Muslim community reacts to deadly Christchurch mosque shooting

Friday is considered the holiest day of the week in Islam, and the B.C. Muslim Association says mosques see a surge in their congregation. An Imam with the association says he and other Imams across Canada are discussing the attack in their sermons.

Members in Surrey will also be visiting mosques, as well as Muslim schools in an effort to help people deal with their response to the horrific shooting.

“People in the Muslim community are part of our community in Surrey. We are all together. It’s a very diverse community that we have here. We stand together with our Muslim community. We want to be able to show support and also, we want people to feel safe in Surrey.”

RCMP are asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to give their local detachment a call.

 – With files from Lasia Kretzel, Hana Mae, Mike Lloyd, Monika Gul