As the country continues to battle an unprecedented upsurge in violent crime linked mostly to young people former Deputy Commissioner of Police Bertie Hinds has sought to dispel the notion of youth-dominated crime.
While murder, drug offences and other violent crimes are being committed by young people starting as early as age 15, the prison population and statistics show that older criminals were heavily involved as well, Hinds said.
The retired officer was speaking Sunday night at a panel discussion hosted by the Coleridge & Parry Alumni Association held jointly with the Alexandra Alumni Association, at the Alexandra School in Speightstown, St Peter.
Before an audience which included former Alexandra principal Jeff Broomes, former lawman Leonard Broomes and economist Jeremy Stephen, Hinds said many older criminals were “wasting productive years” in prison.
Hinds said: “If you are paying attention to what is happening in Barbados you would find that people 40, 45 are still involved we cannot blame the youth alone.
“They’re up there on remand for years to have their cases tried and so on and it’s painful financially, psychologically, not only to them but to their families – immediate and extended.”
Hinds, a Justice of the Peace, said some criminals get out of crime while others make a career out of it.
“Everybody blaming the youth, the youth; yes, young people are involved but there are people generally…. My knowledge about the drug culture and people who get into drugs [is] they begin to come out of the drug world anytime they pass the mid-30s. Everybody doesn’t come out so you find people in their 40s even up to 50 still involved in low level drug pushing, local street runners, street pushers who sell and buy drugs.”
When pressed as to why offenders stayed in the criminal underworld for so long, Hinds later told reporters that as is the case with drugs, some people are hooked on a life of crime.
Hinds said: “Once you get in it you get hooked on it. The years pass and you don’t realise that you are still in. You are aging in it. You become a career drug user.
“Just like if you age into robbery you become a career robber . . . a career rapist . . . I joined the force as a youngster and when I reached senior ranks there were still some people who were involved in crime. There is either a progression into crime and a regression out of it. It takes years it happens over time.”
The discussion was preceded by the documentary, The Truth About Drugs. The video offered first-hand accounts of the effects of drugs by users. There was also information on a number of drugs including cocaine, crack, heroin, opioids, marijuana, crystal meth, inhalants and ecstasy.