RCMP given instant access to Canada traffic cameras for shooting probes
Counties investigating late-night shootings in Surrey will no longer have to wait hours for City Hall to open before they can access traffic cameras, Mayor Linda Hepner announced Friday.
Hepner said the Surrey RCMP detachment has been given instant access to traffic footage, provided they are responding to a crime, and that the city is installing an additional 75 cameras.
That brings the total number of traffic cameras in Surrey up to 400. Though they’re not designed for fighting crime, Hepner said they can still be useful to investigations.
“Police have often used them when an accident occurs or an incident occurs in an intersection where that would be useful for evidence,” she told a press conference Friday.
“Now all 400 will be made available at the detachment for evidentiary purposes when it’s required.”
The RCMP also announced it made some headway in the battle against Surrey’s crime problem this week, arresting five people and seizing 13 firearms.
Asst. Commissioner Bill Fordy said local Mounties have been working hard in cooperation with police from neighbouring cities and B.C.’s anti-gang task force, but that tips and help from the public remain vital to making progress.
“The issue of the drug trade is not just a police issue, it’s a community issue,” Fordy said.
“We’re asking the community to join us in a united front to continue to work with us in a united front.”
Yet some critics say the cameras – and extra resources from the combined forces special enforcement unit – are not enough.
“I think what people are looking for are real solutions, real strategy,” said Harry Bains, NDP MLA Surrey-Newton. “Not just a tinkering with what they’re doing.”
There have been more than 30 shootings in the city so far this year, the majority of which investigators blame on an ongoing drug conflict between two relatively new groups.
Hepner said anyone who continues to participate in the Surrey drug trade should expect more police attention than they’ve ever experienced moving forward.
“It will be unrelenting to these young men, and if they think it’s going to be fun to be on the streets of Surrey, they’ve got a real lesson [coming],” she said.