New Westminster police statistics disputed regarding EFry calls
A Sapperton resident is confused by statistics supplied to her by New Westminster police compared to those given to city council in a recent report.
Trina Graydon sent in a freedom of information (FOI) request asking for the number and type of service calls the department responded to at the Elizabeth Fry Society’s facility at 402 E. Columbia. Graydon is opposed to the society’s plans to build an extension to its facility next door on Sherbrooke Street.
Part of her concern is the amount of criminal activity around the premises of the society, which works with women in conflict with the law, and provides housing and support for women and children.
Although Graydon requested statistics for the last five years, the ones she received were for the last seven years starting in April 2005. The information she received from the police department said there 616 calls for service to 402 E. Columbia St.
But a report written by NWPS crime analyst T.J. Stewart presented to city council May 14 said from January 2007 to April 2012, there were 226 calls to that address.
Graydon said she is having trouble believing there were 390 calls in the 21 months prior to the time period supplied by Stewart.
Graydon said while the trouble in the area used to be worse, it still exists.
When contacted by the NewsLeader, Stewart would not explain the discrepancy, saying any questions about the statistics prior to those she supplied in the report would require an FOI request.
Graydon lives behind the society’s facility on Kelly Street and feels its presence has affected the neighbourhood’s safety to a larger degree than it first did when it moved there 15 years ago.
“It’s gotten considerably worse since they added certain programs,” said Graydon.
“All I know is they are a great threat to the neighbroughood and Elizabeth Fry, they deny it. The have not come forward and take responsibility.”
Graydon said she has seen people doing drugs in the alley between Columbia and Kelly, although that has stopped because of the calls she and others have made to the police and city. But there are incidents that cause her concern.
She said a neighbour returning from picking up her kids from school one afternoon found a drunk woman on her front yard that was an EFry client.
She herself found a drunk man waiting for a welfare cheque to be distributed from the facility sleeping on a tarp between her house and next door.
She said if the society gets the green light from the city her family will look to move from a neighbourhood she loves.
The police report to city council concludes by recommending the NWPS support the proposed application.
“I find that very disturbing that the police support these programs in a neighbourhood with children. I don’t know where we go from here,” said Graydon.
The society is applying for a change to the official community plan (OCP) to allow for its expansion.
It is expected to go to public hearing before council on June 25.
If approved, the society would then apply for rezoning of the Sherbrooke Street properties before beginning construction.