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By Orville Williams

While the country’s police force says it is committed to ensuring safety and security in Antigua and Barbuda, residents are being urged to practice greater personal responsibility to prevent acts of crime.

The Christmas season has officially kicked into gear and, traditionally, the festivities and cheer usually come with the unwanted reality of increased criminal activity. The police have already been sending out tips to the public, which include ways to secure their homes and their businesses.

One of the biggest – often overlooked – means of preventing crime, however, is personal security, officers say. In this regard, police spokesperson Inspector Frankie Thomas is urging people to be more responsible for themselves and with their assets.

“The fact of the matter is, we still have people who deliberately or unknowingly expose large sums of cash in public places. Also, we are a society that seems to always [think] the more jewellery we wear, the better it is for us, which is not so much a good practice.

“At the end of the day, we’re exposing ourselves to become victims of crimes, and saying ‘be mindful of your surroundings, know what is happening around you’, it’s not just a cliché, it’s basically telling you [to] pay attention to what is happening,” Inspector Thomas explained.

He went further, calling on residents to simply be more alert and aware of their surroundings, so they can react quickly if needed.

“We’re so caught up these days in our electronic devices, our cell phones, etc. We have earphones plugged in our ears, walking even across the road in the line of traffic not even paying attention. We can’t even hear when someone is calling out to us for our own safety, in the event that someone is about to assault or rob us.

“[Our efforts] are [to] constantly remind members of the general public to be always on the alert. It [doesn’t] necessarily mean just the Christmas season or any festive season for that matter, but generally speaking.

“At the end of the day, you can assist yourself in not becoming a victim of crime,” he added.

Inspector Thomas also spoke on the force’s efforts in community policing, saying even during the pandemic, officers continue to meet on the ground with residents and business owners to provide knowledge, advice and to get continuous feedback.

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