“Suggestions for Crime Reduction and Control – My Thoughts” by Maurice Williams

The first recorded conference on crime was convened in 1989, “THE NEW CRIME WAVE – A NATIONAL CONCERN” when staff at the Community Development Division brought together government officials, school authorities, community groups, law enforcement and magistrates to examine the trends in juvenile delinquency and to implement measures designed to reducing its incidence and to indicate that if immediate action was not taken to stem the tide, the nation would be confronted with “a new crime wave.”

Attorney General, Mr. Tapley Seaton expressed the view “Fortunately the majority of them live worthwhile and productive lives, but the minority, if left to their own devices will soon blossom and overtake the majority.”

Senior Magistrate, Mr. John Lynch Wade “cautioned that in five years persons will not be able to walk the streets”, reducing by five years the observation of the probation staff whose prediction was ten years.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Edward Hughes, in his presentation on “Police Procedures” opined …… “if things continue to go unchecked, soon, individuals will probably be unable to walk down the streets without being molested”

During the years leading to 1989 period, criminal activity was at a minimum, no one even noticed. However the incidence of non attendance at school, maternal deprivation, family dysfunction and child neglect, juvenile offending were clear warning signs that a new crime wave was on the horizon.

The rate of Juvenile offending was, in 1990, hovering around 1.2% of all offences. In a short time span of some eight years later 1998, the rate of offending by juveniles had increased by about 17% and in 2004 by 66%.

It would appear that the hard evidence is consistent with the 1989 forecast and the prediction of the conference was “spot on.” The onslaught of criminal activity (not juvenile offending) was unleashed on the citizenry as predicted by the conference.

There can be absolutely no doubt that the Federation for several years has been experiencing unprecedented levels of criminal activity and in serious proportions, which none of its citizens or residents is willing to endure.

It is painfully obvious, that the country has not been able to apply any remedy with the degree of efficiency and effectiveness necessary to instill confidence in the adequacy of its response to crime. This has resulted in a rather uncomfortable situation in the extreme, for all residents who continue to hold out hope and wish that its incidence is reduced to more tolerable ranges.

Long term solutions to crime reduction and control, reside not in efforts at better policing, multi-million dollar investments in law enforcement, law revision, stiffer penalties, penal reform, conferences, commissions, councils and inter-ministerial committees but on an a completely new approach. One which encourages and provides tangible support to those institutions which give individuals a place and stake in the community by making it possible for them to play a meaningful role. one which gives them a sense of purpose, a feeling that they are wanted, valued and a sense of belonging•

Crime prevention strategies, therefore, as a matter of course should be built into the planning of all social and economic programs. This measure would have the effect of mitigating the negative effects of criminal behavior on development and progress. Such strategies must include primary prevention which is designed to stop the problem even before it starts.

Through a process of early intervention, action must be taken so that anti social behavior, personal, family or community problems are minimized or do not arise at all. All of the agents of formal and informal social control; the family, the community, the school, the church, legislation, the criminal justice system, the media are critical in crime reduction and control. Any effective response to controlling and reducing the intolerable levels of crime must be rooted in calculated efforts to arrest and repair the corrosive effects on these agents.

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WHO | Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA)

The perspective that VPA promotes revolves around three theoretical models: the typology of violence, the public health approach and the ecological framework. These models guide understanding, research and action for violence prevention. The typology is a tool to help organize thinking about the types of violence and the ways in which violence occurs. The public health approach offers practitioners, policy-makers and researchers a step-wise guide that can be applied to planning programmes, policies, and investigation. Finally, the ecological framework bridges these two models, giving a structure to understanding the contexts within which violence occurs and the interactions between risk factors in each of these contexts and between them. The ecological framework shows where and how to apply the public health approach and is useful for categorizing planned or existing interventions to help understand the mechanisms by which they might be working.

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“Attacking Crime, Violence and Homicide: Unity is Strength” by Dr Patrick Martin, MD

Attacking Crime, Violence and Homicide:  Unity is Strength Patrick Martin August 31, 2018 The profound wisdom of our culture says, “One hand can’t clap”. Unity, a coalition of political will, is critical to restoring societal peace. Ours is a nation burdened with post-traumatic ailments. Knowing what we are personally experiencing, the citizenry continues to plead… Read More

When We are Enslaved to Big Lies, the Truth will Hurt, but Only the Truth can Set Us Free!

Imagine that you have spent most of your life in law enforcement dedicated to upholding law and order in your society. You have been told that marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance that has the “greatest potential for abuse and with no medical value“. Given this is the case and the concern for the citizens,… Read More

Report on the National Crime Reduction Symposium and Follow-up Workshop held on 9th February 2017 in St. Kitts and 2nd March 2017 in Nevis

NATIONAL CRIME REDUCTION AND PREVENTION STRATEGY (PDF Report) Table of Contents  Acknowledgement Introduction: Summary Report on Symposium Comprehensive National Crime Reduction and Prevention Strategy Outline of Crime Reduction and Prevention Strategies Proposed by Stakeholder Groups to Address the Various Roots of Crime Miscellaneous Strategies and Recommendations Tabulating Crime Statistics to Capture Roots of Crime Data Appendix… Read More

“Seventeen” by Dr Patrick Martin, MD

Seventeen  Patrick Martin, MD Student & Resident Citizen Seventeen year olds are children in late adolescence. They should be buried in books or software development, not in a grave. They should be taking shots at goal or throwing the shot put, not shooting or being shot at. The nation continues to reel under the burden… Read More

Rough Dem Up! by Patrick Martin, MD

Rough Dem Up! Patrick Martin, MD Citizen& Student February 6, 2017 An official directive to “Rough Dem Up” may be unpolished but exasperation over unrelenting violence is justified.  Criminal activity appears immune to communal supplication and change in government.  Too many citizens are held hostage in their homes suffering psychosomatic ailments such as panic attacks,… Read More

We Have An Insurgency: A Crisis That Can Be Erased by Dr Patrick Martin, MD

We Have An Insurgency:  A Crisis That Can Be Erased Patrick Martin, MD Resident Citizen & Student November 2016   An insurgency is a threat to the authority of the State.  The Federation is beset with targeted killings, drive-by shootings and the ambushing of individuals, passenger and taxi buses, delivery vans, and financial institutions, some… Read More

The socioeconomic and geopolitical determinants of crime in the Federation of St Kitts-Nevis

About two years ago, a patient was gunned down by an assailant in the emergency room at the Joseph N France General Hospital an hour after I had seen and examined a patient in that very same room. Yesterday, there was a police chase and the firing of some shots on the street several yards from my home of abode. And three days ago, two security guards were gunned down and one succumbed to her wounds outside of a shopping mall in the heart of town. What these three incidents in particular, and violent crime in general, have taught me, is that no one of us is safe, as stray bullets could have affected me or my family or my friends if ever we were in the wrong place or at the wrong time, at work, at home or even at the shopping mall.

What I endeavour to do in this article is to share with you some insights I have gained from trying to come to terms with the social determinants of health and to show you that we are not just dealing with a criminal justice system, but in truth and in fact we are dealing with a public health and mental health issue that calls for immediate, short-, medium- and long-term strategies, that use the practices of prevention and rehabilitation in its full armament of action. We have to now accept that law and police enforcement, prosecutions in courts and incarcerations in prison do not deal with the upstream determinants and root of these antisocial behaviours, and that a holistic approach by all sectors, be they governmental, business and civil society, have to be implemented if we are going to make a dent in the tsunami of criminal activity that is hijacking our nation and has the potential to derail the social and economic growth and development of our people in the Federation.

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