Government officials, criminal justice professionals, academics and members of the general public have been identifying strategies that will hopefully help prevent or significantly reduce serious criminal activity on the island.
This is being done through a series of public discussions spearheaded by the Ministry of National Security. The latest in a series of meetings was held in the Northern Community of Marigot on Monday June 18, 2012.
Government, law enforcement experts and individuals from the wider community believe that the road to crime prevention lies through tougher laws, harsher punishments, the greater involvement of the community in crime fighting efforts and increased spending on community policing.
Attorney General Honorable Levi Peter is one of those leading the community outreach programme on crime and violence. He spoke to some contributing factors of crime and violence in the community. He emphasized the need for closer attention to be paid to the manner in which people are socialized from a young age.
“The general decline in the way we interact with each other is something which we may think is simple but in my view is very significant. The decline in the display and exercise of courtesy that use to exist in our communities is of critical concern”.
He went on to say that the lack of empathy with our fellow man and woman, brother and sister are significant factors which are contributing to serious crime.
“Somebody who commits crime particularly serious crime is usually an adult, occasionally a juvenile, but usually it is an adult, that is to say that person has had a number of years of living before they actually found themselves in conflict with the law and so the question really is what can be done not so much to address the person who actually committed the crime but to dissuade or prevent that person from committing crime in the first place”.
The Attorney General is confident that some success can be realized if more attention is paid to getting people off the track of committing crime.
Meanwhile Dominica’s Chief of Police Cyril Carette contends that while the police are doing all within their powers to try to contain rising violent crime on the island, crime fighting should not just be the responsibility of the Police but every Dominican.
“I think there should be greater collaboration between law enforcement and the communities to ensure that we can effectively fight serious crimes”.
The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force in recent times have increased patrols, and intelligence gathering to ensure that crime is minimized in the country.