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January 12, 2011

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Surrey latest BC municipality to partner with unionized city staff to make communities safer

SURREY—The City of Surrey is the latest community to partner with CUPE’s successful “City Watch” program that brings the eyes and ears of civic workers to fight and reduce crime and increase public safety, CUPE BC General Vice President Cindy McQueen said today.

“City Watch” is an initiative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees which combines the efforts of City of Surrey staff, CUPE Local 402, and the Surrey RCMP to prevent and reduce crime by encouraging municipal employees to be alert to suspicious and criminal activity they may witness on the job.

“The City of Surrey is taking a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to increasing safety throughout our communities and we are always looking to implement innovative ways to reduce crime,” said Mayor Dianne Watts.

“Our employees are in a unique position to provide this valuable community service because they are working outside in neighbourhoods across the city when most people are away from their homes. City Watch allows them to keep a watchful eye while doing their work and is another practical tool within our Crime Reduction Strategy.”

“We are really pleased at the number of cities and towns in BC that have partnered with us on this important initiative,” said McQueen. “More than a dozen local governments have joined with us to make communities safer, and we’re very happy to have Surrey join with us.”

“CUPE members don’t just work in Surrey, they live here too,” said CUPE Local 402 President Laurie Larsen. “We want a safer community, just like every citizen, and it’s really gratifying that the City has agreed to partner with us to work together to make Surrey a safer place for us all.”

Other B.C. communities that have introduced the “City Watch” program include New Westminster, Victoria, Burnaby, Kamloops, Ladysmith, North Vancouver and Delta. Many other communities have expressed an interest in joining with CUPE to establish their own “City Watch” programs. Additional announcements are expected in the coming months.

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