When shall we awake to crime and violence?

This article hopes to assist the various government agencies, NGO’s, law enforcement, members of the legislature, in particular the Minister of National Security and the public at large, with some measures which could be implemented to assist in the fight against crime and criminal activity.

Here are some strategies which could be implemented to effect a downward spiral in criminal activities. In identifying some of the loopholes, it is important to note some suggestions and recommendations.

The Big Issues of Sunday June 1 2014 examined some suggestions such as the placement of rewards for information leading to the arrest of these perpetrators. The business community is putting this proposal forward. Crime stoppers have also lent an ear and some advise and reward in this area. The proposal of the former Minister of National Security was to install a total of 110 cameras feeding into a monitoring station. These all are good options and strategies.

Criminals however, also do surveillance while attempting to strategically identify the most vulnerable and poorly secured businesses and properties, to carry out their trade.. This requires us to be more proactive and vigilant to minimise the risk.

Even more noteworthy and of greater value to persons involved in unlawful activity is the assessment of, “Can I get away with it, and can I bear the consequences if caught.”

A prime example of this (though on a smaller scale) is vehicle tint. Beyond a certain grade it is illegal, however we all are guilty of this practice. Can I get away with it? Yes, all persons including the authorities do it. Can I bear the consequences? Yes, There are none or at worst, having to remove it then replacing it after examination for an inconsequential fee. Hence this illegal practice continues in plain view.

Some notable anomalies to consider are these;

  1. Dark vehicular tint: illegal but tolerated and accepted.
  2. Prostitution: illegal but tolerated and accepted. Says who? Remember the headlines. ”Ministry of health reports, Prostitution on the rise.” If it doesn’t exist how can it rise.
  3. Marijuana: illegal but tolerated and accepted. Persons can be seen in plain view using this.
  4. Teen-age pregnancy: illegal but tolerated and accepted.
  5. Copyright infringement: illegal but tolerated and accepted. In plain view CD’s and DVD’s are sold outside every supermarket or popular retail outlet.

There needs to be a zero tolerance initiative in order to stop and prevent the rise of criminal activity.

Like kids wanting more candy, people push the envelope to find the limit to which they can get away with indiscretions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

That legislation is put in place, which obligates all businesses (regardless of size) operating in Antigua & Barbuda to install a minimum of two outdoor cameras at their premises. This is a small price to pay that could save your own life and your valuables. The footage must be made available to law enforcement whenever a crime is committed and deemed necessary. This would eliminate the cost on the government to mann a monitoring station 24 hrs daily.

With approximately 56-business place on St Mary’s Street, this would result in at least 128 cameras. Redcliffe Street over 60 businesses gives over 120 cameras. Heritage Quay, a minimum of 150 cameras. Redcliffe Quay over 80 cameras. Long Street over 100 Cameras, etc etc… This short example of five areas (a small portion of the city), results in over 500 cameras. This trend will be the same across the island. One could trail a vehicle or person almost anywhere across the island. It would be almost as effective as a helicopter following the criminals.

Proof of this effectiveness, is the speed by which the Cash Wiz purported robbery was solved by other business cameras in the vicinity.

How do we pay for this? Business places should cover the cost to obtain these cameras, while the government would waive all the customs and import taxes and duties so associated. This would not be a loss of revenue to the government, since had it not been for this mandate by the government, businesses would not have made this investment; hence these monies would not have been projected by Customs. When compared to the joint investment with government and Digicel in the amount of EC$5,670,000, for the installation of only 110 cameras in the St John’s City area. This is indeed a worthwhile venture.

Vehicle Tint: This should be as done in cities such as California. Zero tints allowed on both front windows. While rear passenger windows can be any grade. This allows for executives, celebrities, prime ministers and anyone to whom non-visibility is a matter of security concern to be able to be transported in confidence.

Copyright infringements must be taken more seriously and offending material confiscated, as in the case of camouflage clothing etc.

Mr Minister implementation of this is cost effective and can be very successful in assisting the government, businesses, and the citizens of this great nation in our fight against crime and criminal activity.

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