The violent crime rate in B.C.'s second most populous city is the lowest it's been in a decade, local Mounties say.

Surrey RCMP released crime statistics Tuesday comparing data from 2009 to 2018. The data is part of a set submitted to Statistics Canada, and is meant to provide an idea of long-term trends in types of crime.

The total number of Criminal Code offences in 2018 was below the 10-year average, and was the lowest it's been in a decade, the RCMP said.

Still, looking at the number of incidents of specific violent crimes showed there was one more homicide last year than the 10-year average.

The number of sexual assaults last year was 20 more than the 10-year average, and the number of sexual violations against children was more than double the average.

Other crimes with more incidents in 2018 than the average include assault on a peace officer, and abduction, confinement and kidnapping.

The number of robberies, firearms charges, other assaults and threats were lower in 2018 than the average.

It appears the severity of crimes committed in Surrey is trending downward since 2009, and the non-violent crime index is also dipping.

"The information we are able to derive from the statistical data is very encouraging," Asst. Comm. Dwanye McDonald said in a release Tuesday.

Still, he acknowledged that violent crime does have an effect on the community.

"Being a victim of crime or experiencing crime in your neighbourhood has a significant impact on how you feel and your perception of crime. Collectively, we still have work to do in improving public safety and, as your local police force, we will continue our efforts through prevention, intervention and enforcement."

Surrey mayor on violent crime

McDonald's comments came a day after Surrey's mayor appeared on CTV News Vancouver to discuss the state of violence in his city.

He was asked whether he felt ongoing gang violence – which resulted in two shootings within three days last week – is the worst it's ever been.

"Certainly I think this is the worst in terms of gangs that are shooting each other," Doug McCallum said.

"A lot of the last was centred around Newton, but now it's starting to spread throughout Surrey, so people feel very, very unsafe in the community because a lot of these (shootings) have happened in broad daylight."

McCallum said he frequently hears from voters that they're hopeful the municipal police force being brought in to replace the Surrey RCMP will make an impact.

He added that he thought the RCMP has "done a good job over the years," but that the city police will follow new models he thinks will be affective at addressing some of the city's issues.

Read a Q & A or watch the full McCallum interview for more from the mayor, including questions about the cost of that new force. 

By the numbers

The data released Tuesday included a variety of statistics including sexual violence against children, assaults on peace officers, criminal harassment and threats and more.

Here's a quick look at some of the information released:

  • Homicides in 2018: 15, compared to the 10-year average of 14
  • Attempted murders: 12, down from the 10-year average of 19
  • Sexual assaults: 251, up 20 from the 10-year average
  • Sexual violations against children: 161, up from the 10-year average of 78
  • Total assaults: 2,941, down from the 10-year average of 3,478
  • Assaults on a peace officer: 153, up from the average of 115 per year
  • Other assaults: 26, down from the average of 57
  • Firearms charges, including use of, discharging and pointing: 35, down from the average of 43
  • Robberies: 321, down from the average of 700
  • Abductions, kidnappings, confinement: 58, up from the average of 47 per year
  • Criminal harassment or threats: 5,946, down from 6,865

Property crime, including breaking and entering and identity theft, was down from the 10-year average, as were prostitution, possession of or accessing child pornography and trespassing at night.

Weapons violations were up slightly in 2018 from the average, as were counterfeiting, disturbing the peace, making or distribution of child pornography and indecent acts.

The full crime profile is available on the RCMP website