Credit to Author: David Carrigg| Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2019 04:56:14 +0000
Sex crimes against children rose a staggering 400 per cent in Surrey between 2012 and 2018, according to a report highlighted by the RCMP on Tuesday.
In a prepared statement, the RCMP said its Surrey crime profile showed that violent crime had been trending down in the city over the past 10 years.
However, a deeper look into that profile showed that one area of violent crime — sexual violations against children — had risen from 32 in 2012 to 161 in 2018. Between those years, there was a steady increase from 57 in 2013 to 137 in 2017. The statistics page was titled Actual Incidents: Select criminal codes.
According to the page, sexual violation against children included sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and luring a child via a computer.
The Surrey RCMP’s figures are reflected nationally, with the federal government’s Department of Justice releasing a report in March, 2019, that stated there were 8,046 sexual violations against children in Canada in 2017, a 118 per cent increase over the 4,362 figure from 2010.
Vancouver lawyer Kyla Lee told Postmedia News that one explanation for the increase was that police were putting more resources into child sex crimes, particular with the advent of the internet and access to chat-rooms and message boards.
“They’ve now got dedicated enforcement teams in every police detachment dealing specifically with child sex offences,” Lee said. “As soon as you have more resources, you have more people being apprehended.”
She said that officers in child exploitation units would often “lurk” in chat rooms and message boards where sex with minors was being discussed. From there they identify targets and then identify what that individual was doing in the community.
“That often leads to people being charged with something that’s more solid,” Lee said.
Last year, the Vancouver Police Department and RCMP ran a joint sting that identified 47 men who had attempted to use the internet to procure sex with females under the age of 18 — they included a former Vancouver school board trustee and a retired teacher from Vancouver’s Little Flower Academy.
On Monday, Postmedia reported a Port Moody man, who was a minor hockey coach at the Burnaby Winter Club, had been charged with intention to lure a person under the age of 16 and importation and distribution of child pornography. In July this year, Surrey man John Darrell Lerfold was found guilty of child luring after he was charged in Oct. 2017. Lerfold was a former coach with the North Surrey Minor Football Association.
The Department of Justice report noted that the increase in sexual violations against children “is primarily attributable to significant increases in incidents of luring a child via computers.” In 2017, 16 per cent of child sex violations were for luring, compared to 11 per cent in 2010.
The report goes on to state that “another factor that could account for the increase in reports of sexual violations against children is the establishment of specialized units in a police service proactively investigating this type of crime.”
A troubling addendum to the Department of Justice report was a 288 per cent increase in the police-reported incidents of child pornography in 2017 compared to 2010 and a note that “similar to sexual assaults in general, reports of sexual violations against children are expected to be an underestimate of the true number of incidents due to the compounding factors that are likely to impact reporting.”
Overall, according to the Surrey RCMP, Surrey’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) has been trending downward since 2009 and the Violent Crime Severity Index and Non Violent Crime Severity Index have both been trending down.