The death of Surrey mom Julie Paskall in December 2013 brought national headlines to Newton for all the wrong reasons.

Paskall was killed in a botched robbery attempt while waiting outside the Newton Arena for her son to finish refereeing a minor hockey game. Her killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year.

The event galvanized the local community, forcing the issue of crime and safety to the forefront. The Newton Business Improvement Association (BIA), officially launched in September 2014 after a few years in the making, has been one of the groups leading the charge to lower the crime rate in the area.

The Newton BIA has initiated a four-pronged approach to crime reduction and overall operation: safety, area enhancement, events and government relations. It has started a monthly RCMP-led community walk, a graffiti removal project, a street cleanup program, a “take back the block” party in an area known for prostitution and a long-term economic revitalization plan.

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