Surrey RCMP say more shots-fired reports were investigated in 2015-16 than what was reported in the media

Police investigated 61 reports of shots fired in 2016 and 88 in 2015.

Police investigated 61 reports of shots fired in 2016.

Police investigated 61 reports of shots fired in 2016.

SURREY — The Surrey RCMP has revealed there were 35 more shots-fired reports investigated in the past two years than what had been reported by the media.

Surrey Mounties responded to 88 “shots-fired incidents” in 2015 and 61 in 2016.

That’s more than the Now’s reported tally of 58 in 2016 and 56 in 2015, which was based on shootings made public by police or other sources. Many more, in fact, than what any news outlet reported.

That’s 149 compared to 114; a difference of 35 investigated incidents. The seriousness, of course, can vary wildly between one case and another.

“Not all shots-fired calls have a need to be reported out,” Corporal Scotty Schumann explained.

“Our stats include all incidents where there is evidence a gun has been fired for any reason. As such, the total number includes a wide spectrum of incidents that span bullets casings found to a person being injured or killed. That said, it isn’t necessary to release on every single incident. Some of the incidents include target practice, duck hunters, etcetera.”

That said, while 88 shots-fired reports and 61 shots-fired reports give more cause for concern than do 56 and 58, at face value, Schumann remarked there’s a “good news story” here in that 2016 Surrey recorded 27 fewer cases than in 2015.

“Shots fired reports decreased significantly, which is in line with the decrease in violent crime last year,” Schumann noted.

Schumann also told the Now on Tuesday that police “may not release on incidents where we do not need the public’s assistance in identifying suspects or vehicles when we have that information already. There can also be investigational reasons not to release on an incident, one where information could risk the safety of witnesses or jeopardize the integrity of an investigation, for example.”

Surrey’s final crime stats for 2016, as tallied by the Surrey RCMP, are expected to be compiled by the end of this month.

Meantime, Schumann confirmed there have been two shootings so far in 2017 in Surrey.

The most recent was this past Friday afternoon, Jan. 6, when shots were fired between a car and SUV near 75th Avenue and 121A Street in Strawberry Hills. On Thursday, Jan. 5, a Surrey Mountie shot a man in the chest outside a house near Scott Road and 100th Avenue in Whalley as the RCMP was responding to a complaint of domestic violence. The Independent Investigations Office in investigating (See story page 16).

The Now, and then other media, began keeping tally on the number of shootings in the city in early 2015 after a series of shootings on our streets.

There were also a couple of shootings in North Delta. Police said two groups – one of Somalian decent, the other, South Asian – were responsible for many drive-by shootings, and it was characterized as a fight over dial-a-dope turf in Surrey and North Delta. Most of the shootings were in Newton.

Shootings continued into 2016. Police indicated that this was connected to two new drug turf fights not related to the 2015 shootings.

The Now began a new tally, for 2016.

On April 1, 2016 the Surrey RCMP dropped the bombshell that, as of that date, there had been 28 shootings. Until then, the public knew of 16.

Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy, who was then officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP, told reporters he “knew the numbers would be alarming” but said he revealed them “in spite of the fact” most didn’t have victims, in the spirit of transparency. Fordy remarked that sometimes it’s “not in the public interest” to make a shooting publicly known, for investigation purposes.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

Surrey Now

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