Violent crime in Surrey soars by 34 per cent so far this year.

Violence soars in Surrey this year

Attempted homicides were up 600 per cent overall, with a climb of 900 per cent in Newton since January

Violent crime in Surrey has skyrocketed by 34 per cent, with attempted murders six times that of the first half of last year.

Newton led the city with the spike in attempted homicides, experiencing a 900-per-cent jump in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.

It was followed by Whalley at a 300-per-cent climb in attempted homicides,  while other communities saw no change.

Homicides were down 33 per cent overall.

Police say the large amount of attempted murders are due to the drug turf war playing out, largely in Newton and Whalley, where two groups are battling over a dial-a-dope operation.

The police said in a release there has been a recent drop in the number of shootings, in part because of a multi-jurisdictional clampdown on the people believed to be involved.

The statistics released Friday are made public by the Surrey RCMP every quarter, as was mandated by council as part of the Crime Reduction Strategy in a move toward further transparency.

Overall in Surrey, most violent crimes were on the increase, including sex assault (up 65 per cent), abduction and kidnapping (up 55 per cent), and robbery, which was up 33 per cent.

No community in Surrey was spared the spike in violent crimes.

Cloverdale/Port Kells saw the biggest jump at 46 per cent, followed by Guildford/Fleetwood at 41 per cent. Newton followed with a 33-per-cent jump, and South Surrey was right behind with a 31-per-cent spike.

Whalley saw the lowest climb in violent crime at 28 per cent.

Sex assaults were also up dramatically across the city, with the only drop being in Whalley, which decreased by 11 per cent.

The most dramatic rise in sex assaults was in Cloverdale/Port Kells, which increased by 150 per cent (four to 10). It was followed by South Surrey, up 100 per cent (from five to 10).

In Newton, sex assaults climbed from 22 to 43, a jump of 95 per cent, while Guildford/Fleetwood sex assaults shot up from 13 to 23, an increase of 77 per cent.

They’re the kinds of number that are “unacceptable in any city,” according to Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner.

The mayor said she doesn’t place too much stock in numbers based only on quarterly changes, as many things can affect crime stats in a short period.

She’s more interested, she said, in trends over a longer time span.

“When you judge the safety of a city, you have to take in mind more than what does a quarterly stat look like?” she said.

Bright spots in the second-quarter statistics were a decrease in thefts over $5,000, which fell by 33 per cent, a 21-per-cent decrease in residential break-and-enters, a 28-per-cent drop in identity theft  and a 12-per-cent decline in business break-and-enters.

“I am pleased to see that property crime is down in our city as a result of the hard work of our target teams and residents and business owners who are taking steps to protect themselves and their property,” said Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, Surrey RCMP’s Officer in Charge. “While the news is not as good in our violent crime category, the focus we’ve placed on the shooting conflict and robberies with our law enforcement partners is leading to arrests and charges that will hopefully drive crime down as we continue to apply significant pressure to these offenders.”