HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Violence Behind Record Murder Rate
Pubdate: Wed, 02 Jan 2002
Source: Surrey Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Surrey Leader
Author: Dan Ferguson


Drug-related violence boosted the Surrey murder rate to a record level in 
2001, RCMP figures show.

There were 17 homicides in the city, almost triple the previous year, and 
that number that may rise even higher if the mysterious death of an 
unidentified woman turns out to involve foul play.

The woman's body was discovered by the side of a road in December, but 
police are still awaiting the results of tests to confirm the cause of 
death before they decide whether to add her to the list.

The previous record for murders in Surrey - 16 - was set in '93.

Almost all of the slayings in 2001 are believed to be connected to the drug 
trade in one way or another, said RCMP spokesman Const. Tim Shields.

"Our figures show that 85 per cent of them are targeted acts of violence 
against people involved in drugs and other illegal activity."

Const. Shields said most drug-related murders appear to involve various 
rival groups, including Vietnamese, Indo-Canadian and Caucasian dealers, 
who are increasingly prone to using guns to resolve disputes.

"We are concerned about the level of violence that we're seeing."

RCMP plan to devote more time and resources to drug enforcement in the new 
year, Shields said.

Two homicide cases in 2001 are not believed to be drug-related. Both 
involved acts of domestic violence, including the May 19 death of Surrey 
mom Kanwaljeet Nahar.

Two other 2001 cases in Surrey were initially reported as missing persons, 
but police investigations have since found enough evidence to confirm foul 
play even though no bodies have been discovered yet, Shields said.

The number of murder cases reported this year represents a substantial 
increase over 2000, when six homicides were reported for the entire year.

The homicide rate for 2001 is also higher than the numbers recorded in 
1999, when 10 murders were investigated, 1998 (12) and 1997 (seven).
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager