Hotspots to be targeted in new crime blue print
A three-year plan to tackle rampant crime, targetting crime-ridden communities, is currently being drafted by the Government’s Criminal Research and Planning Unit, Attorney General Dale Marshall disclosed in Parliament today.
Speaking as a House select commitee began hearings on the law and justice headings in the appropriations and estimates bill for the new financial year, the Justice Minister revealed the crime strategy is to cover 2019 to 2022.
Marshall told fellow lawmakers: “The whole idea behind it is that it will try to bring together all of the elements that go into strengthening our society . . . . We have to look at reform strategies, we have to look at intervention strategies and we also have to look at what long term things support those strategies.
“Unless we work on all of those things that feed into what can create a block culture then we will be
Marshall expressed the hope that the 2019 to 2022 proposal would be the “golden thread” to arrest and “hopefully minimize criminal activity”.
Also appearing before lawmakers, the Government’s chief criminologist Cheryl Willoughby revealed that the research and planning unit and community officers from the Division of Youth Affairs will be going into at-risk communities from March 20.
She also said that the department was researching the levels of fear among the residents in at-risk communities.
The Attorney General who is responsible for the Royal Barbados Police Force, the preservation of public order, the Forensic Sciences Centre, the Police Complaints Authority and the Criminal Justice Research Unit indicated that the “levels of paralysis” linked to the recent spike in violent attacks were alarming and unacceptable.
He told the House committee: “Every Barbadian community knows what it is like for people to have a corner where they can hang out on… but when we have an environment, not of our own making where individuals feel that they have to stay in the house because that is the only way to be safe we are really having an environment that is suffocating our communities.
“Whether we have a high level of fear or not the fact is that many communities in those high at risk area feel that way.”
Marshall went on to say that the police will assure people in high-crime areas that they were closely monitoring the situation.
The Attorney General said: “One of the first things we must do is reassure those communities that we are on the job . . . . Then those communities will not have a chance to breathe – increasing police presence via mobile patrols or community policing.
“This is not just about stamping out crime it is also and must also be about giving our communities a chance to breathe again so the average Barbadian can experience life living in fellowship and harmony as we know it used to be.”