Extensive Consultation Involved 1,600 Participants
Surrey: The City created the position of Public Safety Strategy Director as part of the commitment of demonstrating the importance of public safety issues, to review and refocus the existing Crime Reduction Strategy. They wanted to both broaden the mandate of it, and move it into a more clearly strategic process. Let’s determine where we’re at and where we want to go, and put the initiatives and the targets in place to help us move to being the city that we want to be. Dr. Terry Waterhouse, April 2016
Ten months after the appointment of Dr. Waterhouse, Mayor Linda Hepner launched the city’s extensive Public Safety Strategy following consultation with 1,600 participants.
“Our Public Safety Strategy creates a unified vision to address all the many factors that help us feel safe in our community,” said Hepner. “It brings agencies and resources together under a single action plan that enhances 34 programs and new initiatives. We will measure our progress and successes every step of the way as we deliver this strategy in partnership with numerous community agencies and stakeholders.”
The Strategy is a reality because of the support and partnership of multiple agencies including the City of Surrey, Surrey RCMP, Surrey Fire Service, Surrey School District, Surrey Libraries, and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Other community partners include the business sector, community groups and not-for-profit organizations, the provincial and federal governments, emergency preparedness and international safety experts, and citizens of Surrey.
The Strategy takes direct action on crime reduction, emergency response, disaster preparedness, transportation safety, and persistent social issues such as substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness. The strategy focuses on enhancing existing program integration and effectiveness, while identifying new initiatives designed to optimize public safety resources that are available to the City.
“The Public Safety Strategy has been designed to engage citizens and address all aspects of personal safety,” said Waterhouse. “Our job now is to engage the public, particularly young people and seniors, to ensure they are aware of, and can access or participate in, programs and initiatives that enhance their safety. As part of the delivery of the strategy, there will be an enhanced City Dashboard (on the website) that will track our progress and help inform and connect citizens to the services and initiatives outlined in the strategy.”
“We must ensure that the existing programs that are happening throughout the city and our own intercity departmental teams are aware of the strategies and initiatives, and are adding to or complementary to them. They need to ensure that any efficiencies that can be gained by partnerships in the community are escalated, and I think that’s a significant difference in approach.”
When asked about funding for the strategy and new initiatives, Waterhouse said many of the organizations have a mandate to deliver on these types of services.
“By working together it’s a very efficient strategy which doesn’t’ require a huge infusion of new money,” said Waterhouse. “Where they do require new money, we’re working in partnership to fund them ourselves or with other levels of government.” He added that at this point they had no specific dollar figure.
On participation by the business sector in the strategy, Hepner said the city has a lot of partners within the business community as well not-for-profit agencies, and there is an integrated network that Dr. Waterhouse is working with that will have constant dialogue with the business community.
One organization keenly interested in the Public Safety Strategy is the Surrey Crime Prevention Society, which has been involved in the process since the very beginning of the new strategy.
“We’re one organization that is totally engaged in public safety, and we’re thrilled to be part of this, through the youth mentorship programs, the Community Safety Youth Leadership and Mentoring Program and a Student Mentorship Program,” said Karen Reid Sidhu, Executive Director. “The strategy will allow us to expand our offering of opportunities to youth who want to make a difference by volunteering with us.”
Along with existing programs, the strategy introduces ten new initiatives including: • Community Safety Centre: to support and deliver a wider range of activities, programs and services from the Surrey RCMP, the City and the Surrey School District including public safety, early intervention initiatives, restorative justice and social development programs;
• Cyber Security Outreach program: addressing security concerns for youth, residents and businesses arising from issues involving social media and personal communication devices;
• Girls Got Game: to assist immigrant girls aged 9 through 13 to build confidence and strengthen connections with other girls and community;
• Clayton Heights Activity Team (CHAT): providing safe space for youth;
• Distressed Properties Response Program: to identify residential or commercial properties ‘tipping towards a state of distress’ and how to deal with those;
• Project IRIS: a closed circuit television camera (CCTV) Registry identifying residential and commercial cameras which may participate, along with city traffic cameras in providing evidence of criminal activity;
• Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety;
• Safety Mobility Plan: using big data, will focusing on key problem traffic areas to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries or damages with improvements and enforcement;
• Integrated Services Network: to target ‘social chronic’ offenders with a wrap around support service;
• Community Web Portal for vulnerable residents, new immigrants and refugees, low-income residents and youth to easily link to appropriate support services.
Full details on the Public Safety Strategy are available at www.surrey.ca/publicsafety