Crime has increased near Langley’s new supportive housing complex – but it has dropped by a comparable amount near the Gateway of Hope homeless shelter.
That was the message from Supt. Murray Power, the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment, answering questions from council during a budget meeting on Monday, Jan. 20.
Creek Stone Place is a supportive housing project for formerly homeless people located in the former Quality Inn hotel in the 6400 block of 200th Street. Approved in late 2018, it went through months of renovations before moving 49 residents in last fall.
“Creek Stone, there has been an increase in calls for service, and we are working with the business partners and the Creek Stone staff as well to address those concerns, full on,” said Power.
Coun. Margaret Kunst asked if the number of calls to police were the same overall but in a different location, or if there were actually more calls.
“We did see a decrease in and around the Gateway of Hope, and it has increased proportionately at Creek Stone,” Power said. “We’re trying to bring some order to the community. Everybody’s got a part to play here. We’ve got a positive growth here, but now we have to deal with some behavioural issues outside of the building itself, and re-establish some ground rules for that community.”
Just last week residents living in townhouses near 200th Street and 64th said a pedestrian path on the west side of the road, opposite Creek Stone, has become a haven for drug dealers.
A committee including nearby residents, police, and business owners was set up as part of the creation of Creek Stone as a forum to talk about problems.
The supportive housing project was controversial because Creek Stone is based on a “housing first” model. Residents are not required to be drug free, but on-site services and referrals are in place at the facility to help residents get clean, access health care, and otherwise stabilize their lives.
Power answered other questions about service levels at the meeting. The Langley RCMP has requested up to 15 new officers for the local detachment, because of rapid population growth in the Township. The council is currently in the middle of budget deliberations.
“They’ll all be on the road in the Township, that’s where the demand is,” Power said of new officers he was hoping to see added to the detachment.
Council was asking Powers questions about the number of new police officers being requested. Power has asked for 15 officers, a marked increase from previous years, due to rapid population growth over the last decade.