The use of illegal firearms to conduct criminal activities continues to be a major issue for law enforcement officers.
Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney while speaking on Observer radio on Tuesday shared a particular concern that young people between the ages of 14 to 23 are the main perpetrators.
This is an eerie feeling of déjà vu as Rodney, just last weekend, spoke on acquisition crimes and the fact that an alarming number of perpetrators are from that age group.
Despite that being the case, the top cop did mention that lawmen have spearheaded several activities to remove illegal guns from the streets, one of which is a gun amnesty.
According to Rodney, that initiative over the years has not garnered the type of support that they’d expected. Nevertheless, they have no plans of doing away with it. Instead, they are adding and increasing other activities.
“We have used amnesty, but that has not given us the boost that we would want to get, and I think it just points to another area of policing that we can never overlook and overstress, which is the involvement of the public. We are of the view that persons know who have those firearms out there, and you might think well you are being a snitch, but you are just assisting your own self because you can be the next victim, and that is where cooperation with the public has to come into play,” Rodney said.
“Yes, we have offered amnesties, and have not met the kind of results that we would like, so we are continuing to do our due diligence. We are continuing to execute search warrants. We are continuing to patrol some of the likely areas that persons can use as illegal ports of entry. We will continue those methods, but it also would be helpful when members of the public give information as to where those firearms are, and who has them.”
A week ago, the top cop revealed that larceny, break-ins and robberies remain the most common crimes committed in Antigua and Barbuda. The information was shared as part of the police’s mid-year crime report.
Yesterday, Rodney gave some more statistics from that report where he revealed that while there has been an increase in acquisition crimes, there has been a decrease in other crimes.
“We had a decline. For instance, there were less murders in the same period. There was less malicious damage. Even in cases of indecent assault, there has been a decrease. Some numbers remain just about the same,” Rodney said.
He did however mention that there is some major worry where praedial larceny is concerned as those figures continue to rise.