Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jun 2009
Source: Now, The (Surrey, CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Tom Zytaruk
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Surrey Seems To Be Winning Its War On Pot Growers.

A new study shows that there was an 80.9 per cent decrease in the 
number of residential marijuana growing operations between 2004 and 2008.

The study, conducted by the University of the Fraser Valley's Dr. 
Darryl Plecas, Dr. Irwin Cohen and Tara Haarhoff; and Amanda 
McCormick - research co-ordinator with the B.C. Centre for Social 
Responsibility - also showed that Surrey's drop is far more dramatic 
than in other communities in the Lower Mainland, or B.C. for that matter.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said she's "pleasantly surprised" with the 
latest numbers, which she anticipated would have been around 65 per cent.

She attributed Surrey's success to the city's innovative electrical 
and fire safety inspection initiative (EFSI) that started in 2005, as 
well as the efforts of the Surrey RCMP green team, bylaws department, 
BC Hydro programs, and other crime-fighting initiatives under the 
city's crime reduction strategy program.

"This research supports the work that we've been doing and confirms 
that we can succeed in deterring the grow-op industry from 
establishing itself in our cities," Watts said on Monday.

"This gives us increased confidence that we can make our streets 
safer and improve the lives of our residents through innovative 
measures that address crime through collaborative efforts."

Plecas, who undertook the study for the Centre for Criminal Justice 
Research, said Surrey has been "the leader" in solving public safety 
risks associated with marijuana grow ops.

In a corporate report that was expected to be presented to Surrey 
city council last night, Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis and Surrey RCMP 
Chief Supt. Fraser MacRae note that Surrey's good success "may have 
to some degree" displaced the residential marijuana grow-op problem 
to neighbouring cities and municipalities.

"It is also important to advocate for widespread, collaborative 
approaches involving all communities and levels of government to 
address this problem fully," Garis and MacRae state in their report.

To that end, Watts is planning to speak with other mayors whose 
cities might also benefit from Surrey's experience, she said, adding 
she doesn't want the problem just to be pushed around from 
jurisdiction to jurisdiction but rather addressed on a wider scale.
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