A senior lawman says young adults have been responsible for most of the criminal activity in Barbados and the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is looking for a way to deal with the youth violence.
Acting Assistant Commissioner for Crime, Erwin Boyce, made the disclosure even as he urged Barbadians not to panic over recent gun activity in the island.
He shared statistics and spoke about the RBPF’s efforts to clamp down on the situation as he addressed the monthly meeting of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) last night at the St Michael School.
Boyce said police are “looking for a solution to deal with youth violence and youth-related violence”.
“In 2014, we recognized that between the ages of 20 and 29, you’ll find 593 persons arrested [between January and September 23], and that accounts for the majority of persons arrested in 2014,” he said.
The 2014 arrest figure for persons in that age group is, however, a drop from last year when it stood at 740. In the 30 to 39 age group, there were 497 arrests this year and 514 last year.
Police are reporting that 1,831 persons were charged in 2014 for 2,925 offences, compared to 2,108 last year for 3,157 crimes.
Boyce insisted that despite the recent incidents of gun violence, “what is reported to us and what is analyzed as criminal activity is on the decline”.
At the same time, he admitted there were concerns about the number of murders – 20 for the year so far, 13 of which were committed by gunmen.
Conceding that citizens’ fear of crime could be heightened because many of the vicious acts, including murders, happened in public places and in daylight, Boyce said, however, that “the Force is suggesting to you that there is no need to panic, no need to fear”.
He also dismissed any talk of widespread gang activity in Barbados.
“While there is criminal activity or murders that are committed by young people [our evidence] does not show from where we sit that there . . . is gang activity. You might have a murder committed because of a loyalty, because of a particular situation, but there is nothing to suggest to us that there is this widespread gang activity in Barbados . . . There is not enough for us to say that gangs exist to the extent as in Trinidad or Jamaica, or California,” the senior officer said.
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