Police service OK with EFry application
There are conflicting statistics on how many times New Westminster police get called to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver facilities in Sapperton.
Sapperton resident Trina Graydon told city council this week freedom of information documents she recently received show the NWPD was called to the current facility at 402 Columbia St., 616 times in the past five years. Graydon is one of many area residents who are campaiging against EFry's proposal to build a second building next door on Sherbrooke Street.
But a report written by NWPD crime analyst T.J. Stewart presented to council this week contradicts Graydon's assertion. It pegs the total at 226, almost two thirds fewer.
The report also says there were only 38 calls in 2010 and 40 in 2011, with nine in the first four months of 2012.
The most common calls were for help in getting rid of an unwanted guest, to report a parolee, a known person of interest to police or someone under the Mental Health Act.
The report pointed out many of the calls are routinely generated by New Westminster police.
EFry has applied to change the Official Community Plan for the lots on Sherbrooke to allow it to apply for rezoning to build its expansion. The police report said it has not experienced any serious problems in its dealings with the society.
"By volume the [calls for service] associated to the current 402 E. Columbia St. facility are not extraordinary and have not required an excessive response from the New Westminster Police Service," concluded the report, which recommended should the expansion be built that it monitor the call levels to the facility.
The report said the area around EFry is prone to traffic problems, break and enters, theft and stolen vehicles and recommends New West police continue efforts to reduce the zone's vulnerability and propensity for those offences.
But in the end, Stewart, who works in the police department's criminal intelligence unit, recommended the police service support EFry's application.
Catherine Cartwright, who is one of the organizers opposed to the society's application said 232 people representing 140 homes in the area have signed the group's petition. She said only seven houses contacted are in favour of the proposal while one was undecided.