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The crime situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “is not alarming”, Assistant Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph has said, citing statistics that show a steady decline in the number of reported crime annually since 2010.

“However, the murder situation, the homicide situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is way too high. We have always acknowledged that,” Joseph said on radio on Friday.

Joseph gave the number of reported crimes for the years 2010 (7,866), 2011 (9,342), 2012 (7,490), and 2013 (6,743).

The number of reported crimes during the first three quarters of this year was 4,681.

SVG registered 24 homicides in 2010, 21 in 2011, 28 in 2012, 24 in 2013 and 34 so far in 2014.

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“If you look at that, you will see that homicides, really and truly, is what is on the rise, but the crime itself, it shows a steady decrease in the crimes,” Joseph said.

Head of the Major Crime Unit, detective Station Sergeant Trevor Bailey, who also appeared on the radio programme, attributed the falling crime to the different strategies adopted by the heads of the various police districts.

He also said that police now have more vehicles.

“That assists greatly in our patrols, the stop and searches in the district, moving aggressively towards known criminals,” Bailey said.

Police say firearms were used in 25 of the 34 homicides this year, and 10 of those killings were gang-related and another 12 related to the drug trade.

Bailey said gangs remain a challenge for law enforcement authorities.

“We have an issue with some emerging gangs here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We cannot run away from that. We see the way in which they operate. They are taking on the face of known international gangs. They have specific colours, they have specific marks, they claim certain areas as their turf, and when they speak, as if one of their members gets into an altercation with someone else, the others readily avail themselves to stand by his side — a brotherhood sort of thing,” he said as he spoke of how police determine that a homicide is gang-related.

Joseph said gangs are often attractive to students and recent graduates because the gang leaders have “resources”.

“When I say resources, I mean the actual cash. They have it at their disposal and they are using it. These persons are involved in illegal activities. That’s how they acquire their resources,” he said, adding that the illegal activities are often centred on the trade in illegal drugs.

He said that SVG is a transhipment point for cocaine, and most of the marijuana grown here is exported to markets that generate the kinds of money that producers are after.

The senior police officer said that because SVG is a multi-island nation with limited coastguard resources, it is a challenge to secure the maritime borders, through which the majority of illegal guns enter the country.

Praedial larceny also remains a challenge for police.

“It is something that we have been struggling with,” Joseph said, adding that this crime remains a challenge although the Police Force has rural constables to help fight this particular crime.

He said that while rural constables patrol agricultural districts during the day, most of the livestock and produce are in the mountains and neither the famers nor the rural constables spend the night there, and the thieves use this time to strike.

“It is very difficult to really police this and what we have been doing, we have been asking persons who normally go around and purchase animals to ask the police to accompany them when making purchases, if they are not sure that the seller is a legitimate farmer,” Joseph said.

He, however, pointed out that some persons are willing to buy stolen produce because it is cheaper.

“It is really a challenge to us. We have gone to all these persons who we know normally purchase produce, but it is difficult,” he said, adding that praedial larceny will not stop if there continues to be a market for stolen produce.

7 replies on “Crime in SVG ‘not alarming’ — Police”

  1. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    If our Police and our Government think that crime here “is not alarming” then they all need to resign and leave us alone..

    New York City has a murder rate of 5.1. That number in words is five point one. Los Angeles has a murder rate of 7.8. ( That is seven point eight) in 2013 for both US cities.

    SVG in the same year had a murder rate of about 26 for the year 2013 and this year, 2014, we are trending 50% higher. This is alarming.

    I know Gonsalves thinks we should emulate Venezuela and maybe that’s where we are headed. Caracas has a murder rate that is over one thousand (1000)

    Obviously the leadership of the Police and the country need to go.

  2. Reported crime and actual crime are two different things. People have lost all faith in the police force that’s why they’re not reporting the crimes.

    And you cant blame them, because if your not friends with so and so, or related to so and so… no justice for you.

    Mean while friends and family of so and so, can get away with anything.

  3. You see that’s how we have come now as a country. We don’t ever want do better, we always say we can do worst now. If this year we have 35 murders, they say it’s ok because it could have been 36, the next year is 36, they say it’s ok because it could have been 37, the next year is 37 they say it could have been 38 and on and on and on to infinity. That’s how SVG is run now, we are always making comparisons to the worst. We no longer want to do better, we want to pat ourselves on the back for not doing worst. What a shame and disgrace.

    And this goes for everything. Just listen to the leaders and the people in high office when they talk.

  4. How dumb can this policeman be? Ask the government to establish an animal and farming registry, where farmers list their products and animals. When people who are not farmers are found with these products in their possession, then you act. Or better still, let the farmers in every town and village register their products and animals with the local police station. They would then have an idea of people who are in the farming industry. If a farmer misses a dasheen, potato, tomato or goat and someone with no link to farming is seen in any location selling any of those products, then you act. How hard is this to set in place?
    Have farmers report all and any lost immediately and that info should be sent to all police stations, so they are on the lookout. You can even set up a sting operation to catch buyers and then apprehend them. To do these buyers must verify that a seller is legitimate before he purchases any resources. Let buyers know they can be accessory to a crime if they purchase stolen goods.
    These are simple steps to help farmers, so stop giving excuses not to come up with corrective measures.

  5. While the general overall crimes are trending downwards the rise is homicides are very alarming. Crime statistics are generally based on reported crimes. Realistically, the overall crime figures can be misleading if one was to only look at reported crimes. As Camillo has alluded to, reduce reported crimes can mean reduce confidence in the police. While saying this, I think our police force has always done an exceptional job at policing our carnivals i.e. conducting stop searches, which ultimately reduces violent crimes. It is my recommendation that this type of strategy be adopted in and out of carnival season and extended to the rural areas.
    It is important to note that a policing approach alone cannot and would never solve the crime problem. A policing approach has to be part of a broader strategy that involves community and private sector engagement and legislative reform. We need to strengthen the legislative framework as it relates to possession of an offensive weapon and ammunition whereby no bail is granted in such cases. The penalty for firearm possession must be increased to a mandatory 15 years. The issue of pradial larceny has to also be addressed.
    I wish to recommend the following strategy to the Government and the Police.
    • Improve the staffing and resource capacity of all rural police stations to be able function as the Divisional headquarters, whereby a branch of every unit such as RRU, Traffic, Scenes of Crime, CID, Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence are based at each of these stations.
    • Increase the availability vehicles at rural stations to conduct mobile patrols on a twenty four our basis within each district. Consideration should be given to introducing motorcycles to help reduce fuel consumption.
    • Introduce a complete three shift system on a twenty four basis at all rural stations
    • Increase the number of stop searches for guns and drugs by targeting crime hot spots
    • Revised the Larceny Act to make pradial larceny a strict liability offence whereby the accused must show proof of ownership of any plant or livestock found in his possession as in the case of money laundering where the accuse must show source of funds. This can be substantiated by a receipt to show proof of purchase and evidence of ownership of the property where the plant, fruit or vegetable was cultivated or harvest. Evidence of ownership in cases where livestock are involved.
    • Branding and registration of all livestock to show proof of ownership
    • Ensure that trained police officers are assigned to work along with teams of rural constables to guide and supervise them effectively
    • Increase the penalty for handling stolen goods
    • Implement restorative approaches in primary school and all organizations to help deal with behavioral problems that leads to violence
    • Training community leaders and clergy men and women in the use of restorative approaches
    • Greater emphasis on intelligence led and community policing approaches
    • Increase the number of neighborhood watches
    • Implement cocoon Watches
    These are some strategies can help reduce the overall crimes in SVG.

  6. This declaration by the police makes absolutely no sense to me. You cannot simply pull numbers on a singular basis and attempt to explain away something that has multiple components.

    Of course all the infractions fall under the heading of crime but there are apples and oranges in there. The police needs to help us understand how much of each type/sort of crime lay in each of the annualized numbers, then compare them side by side if they want to begin to draw inferences from these numbers.

    Don’t try to skirt the issues by presenting numbers on a gross basis, that makes 2014 thus far look ridiculously good when compared to 2011. Lets compare murders alone, for instance or whatever you all call it and see how we stack up.

  7. PV Palmer you obviously have no sense of reasoning, rational or perhaps you are an imbecile for refering to me as dumb. You do not understand police work. I never ask for a registry for plants and vegetables. I ask for registration and branding of livestocks. One of the key points in proving a theft related offense is that you must be able to prove ownership and identify the property. Animals generaly have the same appearance so in order to make a distinction you must have some identifiable mark. That’s the only way you can prove that an animal is your property unless of course someone saw the culprit actually stealing the animal. I ask for persons who sell plants and vegetable provide receipts and stiffer penalties be applied by the courts for handling stolen goods.

    You must read, understand and learn from those who know and have experience. You are talking to a twenty (20) year veteran police officer who have serve with four (4) police forces in the Caribbean and work along with some of the best UK Police Officers. More importantly, one with an eight (8) page impecable resume.

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