Newton’s dismal crime situation highlights the need for a ward system
BY RATTAN MALL
Police at Newton Recreation Centre on Monday. Photo by Inderjit Singh of A Master Media
SURREY RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy reiterated just a couple of weeks ago following Surrey’s 24th homicide: “I want to assure Surrey residents that they are safe – unless they involve themselves in high risk activities and lifestyles that put them in danger or at risk for harm. The victim in this latest incident is another in a long list of persons who have become victims because of their lifestyle. The unfortunate ultimate reality of a criminal lifestyle, as I have said so many times before is jail or death. If you involve yourself in this level of criminal activity, the likelihood of ending up dead in a ditch or in jail is very high – actually I would say it is inevitable.”
Now a 53-year-old hockey mom Julie Paskall is dead after having been mercilessly beaten by a robber for her purse just after 9:30 p.m. on Sunday at a parking lot outside Surrey’s Newton Recreation Centre at 7120 136b.
Paskall succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday (December 31).
On Monday (December 30), the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team took over the investigation.
IHIT said BC Ambulance, Surrey Fire Department and the Surrey RCMP attended to the parking lot on Sunday night after receiving a report of an unconscious female in the parking lot. The investigation revealed that the Surrey resident had been attacked and suffered serious injuries.
IHIT added: “This investigation has similarities to an assault on a female that occurred in the same area on December 16, 2013. Surrey RCMP continue to investigate this previous incident and although the motive appears similar these two occurrences have not definitively been linked.”
Sgt. Adam MacIntosh said: “IHIT is in the early stages of this investigation and this attack appears to be an unprovoked, random attack with a possible motive being Robbery. IHIT is currently working with the Surrey RCMP to identify who is responsible.”
Surrey Minor Hockey Association President Harbs Bains told Asian Journal on Monday that the victim was a volunteer time keeper with one of their senior teams.
Asked what steps they were taking to ensure safety, Bains said: “The City of Surrey is really working closely with us. We definitely want to review what happened here and what we can do to make things better. Basically this is not a finger-pointing campaign; it’s more (like) ‘how can we learn from this?’ and perhaps limit it from happening in the future. It’s a random act of violence. It’s obviously tragic.”
He added: “I thank everybody for their heartfelt wishes to our association, especially to the family (of the victim). The lady has been really a benchmark of what volunteerism is all about. … Our prayers and thoughts are with her family.”
IHIT is also asking anyone with information or who was in the area of the Newton Arena, Newton bus loop and the Newton Wave pool, between 7 and 11 p.m. on December 29 (Sunday) and may have seen any suspicious activities, persons, or vehicle to call the IHIT Tipline at 1-877-551-4448 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to remain anonymous you can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip on their website at Solvecrime.ca.
NEWTON’S problems could be resolved with a ward system for Surrey as the city’s councillors don’t really seem to care about the problems of this area.
Former mayoral candidate Ross Buchanan noted a couple of years ago: “To me a ‘Better Surrey’ is created on a solid foundation of the ward system which will improve safety, reduce violence and foster accountability. We need wards. Our neighbourhoods are the backbone of our city and we need the ward system to help strengthen the communities.”
But that is definitely not happening in Surrey currently and areas where South Asians form a majority seem to be receiving step-motherly treatment.
Only after this latest tragedy did Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts appeared shaken up. But will she or the other councillors really do anything about it? Or is all this show of concern for the upcoming civic election?
Rest assured, NOTHING will improve in Newton until there is a ward system where the ward’s councillor can focus of that ward’s problems as in done in major cities such as TORONTO.
THE NDP MLAs, including Surrey-Newton’s Harry Bains, only seemed to wake up AFTER the public outcry.
Bains along with Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers) and Bruce Ralston (Surrey-Whalley) met with Fordie on Tuesday.
After the meeting, Bains released the following statement: “My colleagues and I are very concerned about the level of safety in our community, and we have heard from many people who are worried as they go about their daily routines. People don’t feel safe as they head to work, walk through our neighborhoods, or ride the bus.
“We had a positive meeting with the Chief Superintendent of the Surrey RCMP. While the police are doing everything they can with the resources they have, it is clear more needs to be done to protect people in our community.
“We must ensure the police have the resources to catch the person who committed this awful crime, and also to ensure a long-term plan to deal with the violence in Surrey. Twenty-five murders in one year [are] not acceptable.”
MEANWHILE, Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said: “Due to the circumstances of this tragic incident, we are asking the public to be extra vigilant. It is important that people are aware of their surroundings when they are out and that they keep their valuables concealed. Walk with a friend whenever possible, particularly after dark.”
Surrey RCMP offers the following reminders to residents:
* If you are walking alone:
– Be Aware: Know your surroundings and remove your headphones.
– Trust Your Instincts: If something does not feel right, remove yourself from the situation.
– Walk with Confidenc: Keep your head up and know where you are going.
– Only Essentials: Carry only the necessary identification, money, or cards that you need.
– Keep in Touch: Bring your cell phone so you can make emergency calls.
– Stay Visible: Stay in well-lit areas and don’t wear dark clothes at night.
– Keys Ready: Have your car or house keys ready before you reach the door.
* Minimize your risk:
– Don’t carry large bags or purses
– Don’t carry large amounts of cash
– Don’t carry important documents like a passport or birth certificate
– Don’t make your valuables visible
* If you are approached:
If you are approached and verbally threatened or physically assaulted you can avoid further confrontation, by giving the perpetrator all the property they want. Do not fight back. Never engage in an altercation as it increases your chance of getting physically harmed. Although it is not essential, try to observe the perpetrator’s shoes, clothing, or visible markings like scars, tattoos or piercings to help the police in later identifying the suspect. When the robbery has ended and the perpetrator has left, call 911 to report the crime.