As Surrey became the Lower Mainland's murder capital in 2013, Vancouver reached a record low


This year, Vancouver has already surpassed the number of murders that occurred in the city in 2013.

But that doesn't suggest that there's a major crime wave because last year there was a record low homicide rate in Vancouver.

"Last year our murder rate fell more than 26 per cent from the already record low number of eight, to the even lower record-setting number of six," Chief Jim Chu writes in the Vancouver Police Department's 2013 annual report.

Last month, Vancouver recorded its seventh murder of 2014 when Thanh Tung Tran was gunned down on his Gladstone Street doorstep.

Contrast that with Surrey, which endured 25 murders in 2013 with a significantly lower population.

The VPD has 1,327 sworn members. Its population was 603,502 in the 2011 census.

Surrey has 703 sworn RCMP members. In the 2011 census, its population was 468, 251, but it's expected to be about 500,000 today.

One of the more surprising statistics in the VPD's annual report is a sharp increase in cannabis offences.

They rose from 864 in 2012 to 1048 last year. That's almost three offences per day.

"This does not reflect a hardening of the VPD drug policy," Chu claims in the report. "Our policy is and remains one that focuses on violent drug dealers who prey on marginalized vulnerable people. While there may be some violent drug operations reflected within that figure, those numbers generally represent cannabis that has been seized from someone without a charge laid, much the same way we seize liquor from people drinking on the street without laying charges, but still document the incident."

One of the more disturbing trends was an 18.9 percent rise in sexual offences in Vancouver between 2012 to 2013. The total went up from 389 to 469.

However, attempted murder, assaults, robbery, break and enter, auto theft, and arson all declined.

Fraud, on the other hand, was up 7.9 percent and possession of stolen property was up 23.4 percent.

Chu suggests that the latter figure is good news.

"That means we are finding more people with stolen goods, recovering the stolen property, and in more cases actually being able to return it," the chief writes. "This is due to the proactive efforts of our patrol officers and property crime detectives, but also a growing awareness among the public of the importance of recording identifying information such as serial numbers."

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Better safe than Surrey.
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Meanwhile, an average of 11 pedestrians are killed each year in Vancouver, and roughly 80 people die by suicide. It'd be nice if depression and driver violence were taken as seriously.
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