Pubdate: Mon, 02 May 2005
Source: Surrey Now (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc., A Canwest Company
Author: Tom Zytaruk


Surrey RCMP are seeing a silver lining on the dark cloud that's been
hanging over Whalley for years untold.

Supt. Fraser MacRae, assistant officer in charge of Canada's largest
detachment, this week sang the praises of the Whalley Initiative - a
two-phase crackdown on street crime that began in February and is
continuing today.

Phase One - which got underway in mid-february and ran for five weeks
- - saw 50 plainclothes police target the Whalley core, on top of the 24
full-time cops already assigned to the district.

"This is more than just a crackdown," MacRae said, noting the
unprecedented resources.

The net result was 78 prostitution-related arrests, with 50 women and
20 johns being charged. Nine search warrants executed on suspected
crack shacks resulted in 20 arrests and 34 charges. All told, the
first phase of the project saw about 140 people charged with 170
criminal offenses.

Phase Two, which got underway April 11, has police showing their flag,
so to speak, with more uniformed police on the street.

Though Whalley has more crime than other Surrey communities, police,
with the help of volunteers, city bylaws offices and the Whalley
Business Association, have enjoyed success in the area.

According to Surrey RCMP stats, in 2004, robberies went down 14 per
cent in Whalley and fell six-per cent citywide. Assaults were up by
three per cent while the city on a whole experienced a 12 per cent
increase. There were also 10 per cent less residential break-ins
citywide, and six per cent less in Whalley.

"Assaults is the only category we went up last year," MacRae

MacRae looks forward to measuring the success of Phase

"I'm not naive, and I'm not saying for a second and no one should ever
think that this alone is going to change the environment up there
completely," he said. "Different areas always gain their own kind of
reputation. The reputation and perceptions about Whalley have
developed over many a decade, so you don't change those things
overnight_. It's a different place up there than it was a year, two
years, maybe three years ago. We're excited about that."

The relocation of the RCMP's E-Division headquarters in Surrey by 2009
should also have a "huge" impact on crime in North Surrey, MacRae noted.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin