Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy address the media regarding the mayor's task force on crime.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy address the media regarding the mayor's task force on crime.

City pledges to do more for public safety

Mayor Dianne Watts announces 20 new community safety personnel will be added.

Surrey is promising to beef up its law enforcement presence, adding 20 more community safety personnel over the next two years.

The announcement, made Friday, comes as a result of the Mayor’s Task Force on Crime, which was struck after the city recorded 25 murders last year – record number.

Surrey had already planned to hire 12 RCMP officers this year and the same number again next year.

Five civilian support staff are also being added this year.

However, Watts said Friday the city will also be hiring 20 new personnel who will be dedicated to community policing.

They will not be gun-carrying police officers, but will patrol high-crime areas.

“We want them embedded in the community, and that’s where they stay,” Watts said.

Chief Supt. Bill Fordy noted a host of crime-reducing initiatives have been taken so far this year, including 175 arrests.

“We are targeting locations that mirror those where homicides have happened in the past,” Fordy said. “It is generally these types of locations where those living high-risk lifestyles come together and create an increased risk to public safety and potentially violent crime.”

Watts said she is encouraged by the work so far, and says she will “not rest until the job is done.”