People First Surrey

SMART CITY - SAFE CITY

Crime

Crime is still rampant in Surrey. Policing is already the largest municipal expense at $150 M each year. The addition after the last municipal election of 100 more officers to the force has not brought down the crime rate in Surrey. 

The people of Surrey need sustainable, innovative and bold alternatives to take on local crime and  criminals. 

? PEOPLE FIRST has a broad, comprehensive plan to use technology to make Surrey into a Smart City. Our plan is to move towards a smart city which includes comprehensive electronic crime monitoring and response systems. The objective will be to deter crime from the city by ensuring crime is proven and criminals are behind bars. This electronic system will be controlled by citizen bodies (not police) and will include a people -privacy-protection framework. Adding any number of police will not be comprehensive enough as this modernizing approach. Also it comes at fraction of the cost - helping to keep the taxes low.

 

OUR PROPOSAL

1.Develop a high tech system to identify, record and prove crimes. Use this system to ensure crime is punished. Eventually this will deter crime from Surrey.

Cameras would be installed in all/most road intersections and other key points requested by citizens. However, nobody including police would have access to the footage except when there are specific and documented reasons. This system will monitor for crime and generate alerts to inform concerned parties, similar to home monitoring system. The system will be managed by a city body reporting to city council – Not police. This reduces unnecessary police visits and increase efficiency. It also create a lot more evidence to prove crime in court.

 

Consumer Privacy?

Privacy of our citizens is ensured by a privacy-protected and people inclusive governance of the system. This body will develop the overall rules for the use of the network. Police would be given enough data to detect and respond to situations based only on the published and approved rules. Police will NOT have control of the system.

We will fully adopt 'Privacy by Design' principles, which is the world leading approach to systems engineering and ensuring consumer privacy. 

We will have a phased approach to implementing this, starting with a pilot project. 

2. In later phases, a camera and drone network will also be used to avoid congestion during accidents.   Ie; The road accidents will be detected by cameras, then drones will be send in to redirect traffic to feeder intersections and to pass on early visuals of accidents to police . This would enable police and other medics to reach accident spots quickly and save lives. The technology for this already exist.

 

POLICTY ON RCMP Vs MUNICIPAL POLICE FORCE

PEOPLE FIRST SURREY doesn’t believe that moving to a municipal policing model is the magic bullet for solving crime. However we support a detailed study and a possible public vote on this matter. Either way, we should not reduce the discussion on crime to a “RCMP Vs Municipal force” discussion. WE NEED A MORE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CRIME.

If municipal police force were the magic bullet, Vancouver, where there is a municipal police force, would be without crime. Vancouver pay $420 per year per resident for policing while Surrey pay $272. Surrey is spending 150 M a year for policing out of our $1B budget while Vancouver pays $300 M a year from their 1.6 B budget. However, both Vancouver and Surrey had similar number of criminal offences in recent past. Both Surrey and Vancouver had similar criminal code offences in 2016. In 2017, Culpable homicides in Vancouver rose from 12 to 19 in Vancouver (a 57% increase) in 2017. May be, Surrey is getting more press coverage on crime. McLean’s magazine published a ranking of the most dangerous cities. Surrey was 32nd in position and Vancouver was at 35th position in the list of the most dangerous cities. City of Langley was at 6th. Surrey was in fact better in terms of both violent crimes and homicides. The point is, the crime rates are comparable when resources spend is considered, so there is a need for deeper studies.

PEOPLE FIRST SURREY sees there are positive sides in having a municipal police force, like more locally knowledgeable force and retaining of police officers in Surrey for longer periods. But it is also true that we need to move around police officers to different parts of the country if they get targeted by gangs. RCMP might also get better talent from across the country when needed. From a cost perspective, municipal policing is considerably more expensive. It is going to have a significant impact on our property taxes and other forms of taxes.

In short, there is no conclusive evidence that moving to a municipal police force alone will reduce crime greatly. This does not justify in anyway the violent crimes in Surrey, but our point is, we should not reduce this discussion to RCMP Vs Municipal force. We need a more holistic approach. We need a bolder, innovative approach.

PEOPLE FIRST’s position is to support a detailed study on this specific topic of RCMP Vs Municipal policing, including effectiveness impact & cost and finally share that finding with the residents, then go for a vote with Surrey residents. Referendums are expensive. We have already proposed the E-VOTE system as a cheap and quick way to ensure people participation in governance. There will be many things the City wants to know about where people stand and E-VOTE is the best system to get public’s opinion quickly. (Please refer to: http://peoplefirstsurrey.ca/page.php?page=Priorities4 ). Like Skytrain Vs LRT, this also is a good candidate for public vote after the facts are shared with them.

 

OTHER POLICY STANDS

These are our general policy positions. We would, however work with concerned agencies to gradually implement these.

1. Support better body armour or similar protection for the police force. Work with respective groups and governments on this.  


2. Support mandatory use of body cameras by the police force to ensure accountability.

 

OPEN HOUSE AND PANEL DISCUSSION

WE  INVITE EVERYONE TO JOIN OUR OPEN HOUSE AND PANEL DISCUSSION ON ADDRESSING CRIME IN SURREY ON JULY 22ND FROM 2 PM TO 4 PM AT NEWTON LIBRARY.  It is part of our series of nine open houses and panel discussions about burning issues in Surrey held before the election day with participation from multiple political and non-political groups. Key topics like Transportation, Crime, Housing affordability and greenspaces are discussed. More details on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PeopleFirstSurrey. Pictures and videos from our previous open houses and panel discussion (LRT Vs Skytrain for Surrey) can be found there too.