Crime Stoppers Barbados is responding to the plight of farmers who are being hit by crop theft.
It has embarked on an initiative appealing to Barbadians to turn in the culprits, as part of a wider initiative aimed at encouraging people to also report offences other than violent criminal activity, according to executive director Devrol Dupigny.
“A few months ago we recognized that the issue of praedial larceny . . . has become a huge problem. When you start to read articles in the media about thousands of pounds of sweet potatoes being stolen from farmers, and when we recognize that agriculture is one of key industries that can really assist Barbados in these tough economic times, Crime Stoppers Barbados decided to lend its voice in support of the Barbados Agricultural Society and Farmers’ Association to reduce the pilferage of crops,” he explained.
Expressing concern at the ruthlessness of the thieves, Dupigny said it was not fair that local farmers spent many hours cultivating their crops and then some person or persons took them at the point of harvesting.
“That is not right. So we are lending our voice in support of the Ministry of Agriculture and we are encouraging those persons who know of this type of crime to use the Crime Stoppers mechanism to report such crime, report such persons and activity to 1-800-8477,” Dupigny said.
Crime Stoppers is also trying to assist in another area – residential break-ins.
“We are once again lending our voice in this area. If someone comes to you with a flat screen television for $1,000, ask for a receipt. Carry out some due diligence before you purchase because that item could well be stolen. You can be held by the police as an accessory to such a crime,” he said.
Crime Stoppers has been making these appeals through ads and Dupigny said the focus would change over time.
“Our thrust is an attempt to call on Barbadians to report all types of crime to Crime Stoppers Barbados,” he said.
“There is a perception that only serious crimes such as gun-related crimes or murders or drug-related crimes can be reported to Crime Stoppers . . . We are trying to change that perception. We have, therefore, embarked on this initiative where we will spell it out that this particular crime or that particular crime can be reported.”