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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 15, 2024
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Our High Crime Rate, Solutions

Dear Source:

It appears that we are just spinning our wheels of misfortune. Every day we read in our newspapers some violent crime occurring in our community. What makes it so alarming is that the agency responsible for the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals does not seems to have a clue as to what is happening in our community. Our Police Department for some time has been in the reaction mode. We have been doing very little if any prevention of crime and when violent crimes occur, the Police Department continues to ask the public to help in solving the crimes. Still the same police department refuses to share basic information with the public that would help identify the criminals and let the public feel they are part of the solution. Then hear complaints of police misconduct or negligence in carrying out of their duties to the residents. The morale within the Police Department continues to be low and deteriorating.
Who is policing the police?
It is said and I subscribe to it: "an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure". A concerted prevention program that is instituted on a 27/7 year round basis that involves all the various stakeholders of the community will go a long way in curbing crime. I am somewhat constrained to admit that I am convinced that there are elements in this society that do not want an effective police department nor an effective criminal justice system in the Virgin Islands. Why I say that? Well if you were to review the recent history of law enforcement in our community you will understand why I stated what I have said about those elements in this community that benefit from an ineffective criminal justice system. When we take two steps forward we also take four steps backwards, is that progress? We the moral majority or minority, whatever our numbers, should begin to be more involve in promoting progress at all levels and phases of our government. Sure, we can use outside help, but the bulk of the work is ours to perform.
Do we really believe in a progressive society? Are we willing to promote law and order as factors in developing a progressive society? Do we really believe in justice for all? Those are questions we should ask ourselves and depending on the answer we give will determine our readiness to work for progressive changes in our society. When are we going to hold negligent parents civilly and criminally liable for their delinquent minors? Those who procreate irresponsibly, without preparation, without the willingness to assume responsibility for their acts and those of their minor children should be held accountable by our society, by our courts. Negligent and delinquent parents do not have to be incarcerated; there are alternative punishments, such as probation, conditional release, etc. It is time we begin doing more than complaining and lamenting, we can and should take control of our society. Establishing the proper political status and our own devised constitution would allow us to be even more creative in addressing our present social problems, our crime problems.
Are we truly interested in bringing our crime rate down to acceptable levels? Are we willing to assume the responsibility that is ours as citizens of a democratic society? Do you know where the buck stops? It stops first with our elected and appointed representatives in government, but ultimately it stop at us, the people. While we like to play the blame game, that exercise does not produce positive results and most times aggravate situations. We should be seeking solutions, we all know who are guilty of deceit, of negligence and we all know what to do to correct the deficiencies we identify. Do we have the will to do what is required to move forward with tangible solutions? May Allah-God have mercy on us and grant us both wisdom and courage to do what is right for our beloved Virgin Islands.

J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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