Doug Elford, a Surrey city councillor who rose to prominence as an anti-crime advocate, says he and his family have fallen victim to crime twice in the past few weeks.
A few weeks ago, Elford says, he woke up at 4 a.m. after hearing a noise in his Newton home.
He went downstairs to find his door left open.
“All of a sudden I heard a bunch of footsteps and my front door opened,” Elford explained, “and by the time I got down the stairs they were gone, so I had a burglar in my house.”
Elford says nothing was stolen from his home, but days prior some Christmas decorations were stolen outside his house.
“It’s kind of rattled us a bit,” he said.
Elford, who has long supported Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum‘s plan to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force, says the incidents have reinforced his belief that change is needed.
“We feel it in the neighbourhood, we see it everyday and we see the lack of presence,” he said.
“The community is crying out for a better model, a better way of doing things in Surrey.”
Meanwhile, Fleetwood-Port Kells MP Ken Hardie is calling for a referendum on the move to a civic police force.
“I don’t believe mayor and council have a mandate to do what they’re doing, especially because what’s emerging is the costs both in terms of the service itself and what we’ve having to forgo to make that a reality,” he said.
Hardie says he’s not opposed to a civic police force, but feels the public needs more information.
“I first and foremost believe the citizens should be given a say here and if a referendum isn’t going to happen, then the whole final decision should be left until the next municipal election.”
— With files from Aaron McArthur