SURREY Council candidate Brenda Locke, former Liberal MLA, reacting to the murder of Edward Allen Bezell in the 14000 block of 60 Avenue in Surrey on Tuesday, said in a press statement: “For the 11th time this year, there is another murder in Surrey. No matter the circumstances, there is another life lost. There is another victim, there is another family suffering a tragic loss, and there is another group of friends saddened by a senseless crime. For many of us, though, this is yet another opportunity to be afraid, to be angry, and to be wondering why this is allowed to happen so close to home.
“Elsewhere in Canada, there has been a significant decline in crime rates over the past 20 months. Vancouver had 13 murders yet in that same time frame, Surrey has been home to 35 murders – a record number.
“It is clear to me – and to many of you whom I have spoken with at community events, in shopping centres, and at sports arenas – that the Surrey First “Crime Reduction Strategy” is not working. Everywhere I go, moms and dads, grandparents, and business owners have told me that public safety is their number one concern, and rightfully so.
“There is no question that we do not have enough police officers patrolling the City and parks and gathering areas. Simply put, there are not enough police “boots on the ground” considering the population and geography of Surrey. A greater police presence is a must, but it is not the only solution to the very complicated and complex situation we have in Surrey. We cannot just add police and watch our problems disappear.
“Dealing with crime and public safety requires fundamental changes in our community to address the social infrastructure deficits and the significant growth we have experienced this past decade and a half. To reduce our problem with serious crime, we need to make sure that the decision-makers listen to your ideas and solutions.
“In my view, all residents of Surrey should be provided with the opportunity to participate equally in community life. Every one of you should have equal access to services and resources and opportunities within the borders of our city. By building more inclusive, stronger neighbourhoods, we can more effectively address the root causes that permit crime to flourish, and the marginalization that often limits opportunity and limits hope.
“Words cannot be the only weapons used to address public safety. What Surrey needs is a long-term, collaborative plan where prevention sits squarely at the forefront. An effective strategy will require us to face our problems “head on” with candid and clear communication between the City, the RCMP and the residents of Surrey. Anything less is not okay.”
(PHOTO: Brenda Locke seen here with former MP Sukh Dhaliwal and others at Surrey Night Market.)