Surrey: Over the past seven months, the Surrey RCMP and Metro Vancouver Transit Police (Transit Police) have been working together on a special year-long joint operation to reduce crime and increase public safety around the Surrey Central transit corridor.
Since January 6th, 2015, Surrey RCMP Constable Carl Garlinski and Transit Police Constable Ryan Camping have been walking the beat in high traffic areas connected to main transportation hubs in the City Centre area.
“Our goal is to deter violence, raise public confidence and perception, reduce calls for service and ensure the livability of Surrey,” says Cst. Garlinski.
By providing a high visibility presence, the pair enforces disorder and disruption but also focuses on proactive policing and community engagement. The officers obtain valuable feedback from talking with local businesses, commuters, and patrons in the area and create initiatives to target the issues that are identified. Typically, these involve nuisance and property related crime along with transit offences.
“We find those smaller things tend to negatively affect the perception of Surrey or the state of the neighbourhood,” says Cst. Garlinski.
Specifically, the two officers have worked with partners on projects related to: Transit enforcement; Liquor and loitering; Youth outreach; Business and community engagement; Robbery prevention; Youth probation; and Loss prevention.
Since the beginning of January the team has made over 100 arrests involving multiple and varying charges, issued over 80 violation tickets and 50 fare infraction notices, and made over 40 drug seizures and a dozen weapons seizures. They have also helped locate 20 missing youths and made over 200 contacts with local businesses.
One of these in support of the project is Elizabeth Model, CEO of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association:
“We are very supportive of this partnership which has had a very positive impact on the surrounding business community,” says Model. “Not only has it helped businesses recoup some of their costs related to loss prevention, but it has also helped change the general attitude towards crime and disorder in the area. The relationship between these officers and retailers has created an awareness that this type of activity will not be tolerated. Criminals are aware of more eyes watching them, which has had a positive effect overall. We look forward to seeing this partnership continue in the future.”
The joint initiative has helped create a seamless relationship between the two agencies and helped create a greater feeling of safety amongst residents and businesses in the area.
“We’ve had a really positive response from people in the area,” says Cst. Camping. “They appreciate how accessible we are because we are on foot and they know we are close by. It’s reduced our response time to public complaints.”
Transit Police and Surrey RCMP are currently discussing the possibility of extending this joint operation beyond December 31, 2015.