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Working Together To Reduce Crime

Written by Shadow Minister of National Security - Walter Roban, JP, MP

On November 2nd 2015 Bermuda learned that
another armed criminal action had taken place at Southside Pizza House on
October 30.  Thankfully no innocent person
was injured.  I cannot imagine the
surprise and shock that must have been felt by those present.  My heart and that of the Bermuda Progressive
Labour Party (PLP) goes out to them and anyone else who has witnessed the
scourge of gun violence. There is no wish any resident to face such undesirable
acts. Bermuda has seen
ten armed
robberies in 2015, up drastically from 2014; all residents should be deeply
concerned that this particular type of crime appears to be worsening rather than
decreasing.  In fact with over 2000 jobs lost and more job losses on the
horizon, sadly we may need to prepared for robberies; armed and otherwise to
increase.

In this atmosphere,
OBA budget decisions means cuts to manpower and resources in the Bermuda Police
Service (BPS).  This leaves our able and dedicated Police Officers
possibly without the full range of tools at their disposal to fight crime. We
believe it ill-advised to allow this to happen. We reiterate our earlier
request in July of this year that with any cuts to manpower of the BPS, “… It
is essential that this process is managed carefully to not only maintain
operational effectiveness, but also maintain public confidence…”

How do we as a community get a handle on this? A number of steps must
be taken. We must continue to support the men and women of the BPS.  The BPS was able to bring about a downward
trend in overall crime with a clear budgetary commitment by the former PLP government
to provide the resources, assist with acquiring the needed manpower, passing
and amending appropriate legislation and endorsing any steps to bring about
greater public engagement addressing crime and its causes. The PLP believes the
measures listed below amongst others must be continued and deployed to address
this sudden uptick in criminal activity:

 

  • Maximizing the resources being engaged
    through what is already being done with the BPS and other agencies to address
    gang culture and violence in the community
  • Review the role and the results being
    achieved by the current Gang and Violence Reduction strategy
  • Review the role and the results being
    achieved by the Inter Agency Gang Task Force
  • Review the current policy and strategy
    to work with Community Clubs to address chronic issues of anti-social behavoiur
    and violence on their premises
  • BPS and other relevant agencies should
    be meeting quarterly with Community and social clubs to address any concerns or
    issues of Security
  • Attach members of the community action team
    to clubs and other grass roots organization (community centers, seniors clubs,
    churches, etc.) throughout the island working with them to achieve successful
    community outreach strategies
  • Task the Community Action Team to devise
    an anti-gun education programme that can be deployed in the community and our
    schools; bringing to life the danger of guns and the tragedy associated with
    Gun violence.

The best solution to
keep crime numbers low is a booming economy where Bermudians that want to work,
can work.  With that not happening, it is important that we are fully
prepared for the consequences of long term unemployment and dwindling
employment prospects by providing our officers with the tools and manpower
necessary to keep our communities safe. We must also continue to support
Community Policing efforts, as we understand that addressing crime is not just
the role of the BPS, it is each of our responsibility as well. The people have
to be involved with fighting and solving crime alongside the BPS and other
agencies. The public engagement has been essential to any success Bermuda has
had with this in recent years. Surrendering to the shadows in fear will be help
to irradiate violence.
  Working together
with a fully resourced BPS will apprehend this uptick in violent criminal
action and see a return to the steady downward trend on overall crime in
Bermuda.

 

 

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