Traffic fatalities triple murder stats in Abbotsford for 2013

Six people died in traffic-related incidents while only two people were victims of murder

In June

With 2014 recording its first murder last week, traffic fatalities actually tripled homicides in Abbotsford in 2013, with six people dying in traffic-related incidents, while only two were victims of murder – down from a record high of 11 in 2009.

In February, 40-year-old Leanne Friesen died of gunshot wounds. Her estranged husband has been charged with her murder, and is out on bail while awaiting trial.

In June, 25-year-old Harpreet Chahal died in a drive-by shooting on South Fraser Way. Chahal was a known associate of Jujhar Khun-Khun, who has been charged with the killing of Jonathan Bacon, a Red Scorpion gang member who used to live in Abbotsford.

But in 2013, Abbotsford police count six traffic-related deaths, including two pedestrians killed by vehicles, three deaths in motor vehicle accidents, and one cyclist killed after losing control of the bike. Counted among the pedestrian deaths is Shaminder Brar, who was the apparent victim of a hit-and-run in February, though police do not have definitive answers in the case.

Const. Ian MacDonald said that traditionally, traffic-related deaths are always higher than murders, except for in 2009, when there were six traffic deaths and 11 murders in Abbotsford.

MacDonald said that following the city’s spike in murder deaths in 2009 – eight of which were gang-related – police placed a concerted effort on gang suppression.

The murder rate dropped to four in 2010. There were no murders in 2011 and three in 2012.

MacDonald said that controlling homicide rates is “not a perfect science, especially when you are dealing with some variables that are difficult to crack.”

He said a certain percentage of homicides will be related to domestic situations, or private disputes among people who know each other.

“There are certain conflicts that regrettably will become violent.”

He said from a policing perspective, they must focus on reducing public safety risks, which includes making Abbotsford a difficult place to be a gangster. But MacDonald added that drug dealers and gangsters go where the money is, and do not take note of different jurisdictions.

“You can never rest easy with anything that’s going on. As long as there are gangs, and conflict over money and drugs and other commodities … you always have to be on guard and you always have to be vigilant.”

While Abbotsford’s murder rate is much lower than its peak, Surrey surpassed its record of 22 in November. At year’s end, the city had 25 murder victims.

In response to the homicide rates, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts struck a special task force to examine drug houses and the impact of mental illness on crime and violence rates, and correspondingly, police resources.

MacDonald said that when a city experiences high homicide rates, it is not a time for blame, but for increased community engagement in public safety.

He said from the APD’s experience, it is important to get the community in support of the police to help combat high murder rates.

In order to keep murder rates low in 2014, APD plans to “stay the course,” and remain vigilant in gang suppression efforts.

But as in 2013, APD plans to focus on road safety this year, with continued efforts to educate and address the root causes of traffic-related incidents.


Just Posted

Langley chamber joins call to kill ‘no pipeline ever’ law

Bill C-69 will hurt the local Langley economy, Chamber warns

Langley baseball team brings aid to Puerto Rico

Blaze raised $50,000 for the trip to

World Day of Prayer returns to Langley

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is hosting the annual day on March 1.

Young Langley family plagued by angry cab customers

A couple rents a house formerly used by a cab firm, and unwelcome visitors knocking.

Woman groped on Langley’s 208th Street

Police are asking for tips to identify the man responsible.

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Alcohol policies fizzle for Canadian governments as harms overflow: reports

About 80 per cent of Canadians drink, and most enjoy a drink or two

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Most Read