What Urban Renewal 2.0 will mean for the Bahamas

The commissioner of police's statement on Urban Renewal:



Commissioner of Police Elisson Greenslade talks to Royal Bahamas Defense Force Commodore, Roderick Bowe.

THE flagship Urban Renewal 2.0 Programme is a direct response to past and current problems facing a number of inner city communities in the Bahamas such as crime, poor housing conditions, joblessness, illiteracy, homelessness, and other social ills that contribute to crime and anti-social behavior.

The project is the brainchild of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Perry Gladstone Christie and it has the full support of the commissioner of police, the executive management team, and all members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

The tenets of Urban Renewal 2.0 are included in the Commissioner's Policing Plan for 2012 and are clearly delineated under priorities one, two and three.

The Urban renewal Community Based Policing programme is one of the most ambitious crime prevention programmes in the Bahamas.

It is a comprehensive approach to crime, antisocial behavior, and community safety.

It emphasises both innovation and integration of efforts and resources by a wide range of agencies and the community at large.

Objectives of the Urban Renewal Project

  • To prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime in the community.

  • To identify and tackle the main causes of the social conditions which promote the occurrence of crime and deviant behavior.

  • To examine and improve the quality of life and the social and environmental conditions of high crime communities.

  • To involve the community in problem-solving and empower citizens to play an active role in their communities.

  • To identify the problems facing our young people and to engage them in positive activities and programmes geared toward making them productive citizens.

A brief history of the Urban Renewal Pilot Project

Urban Renewal was first launched as a pilot project in the constituency of Prime Minister Perry Christie, called Farm Road, in June 2002.

The community was identified as the pilot area because it showed trends that were prevalent in other communities in the Bahamas such as crime, social ills and urban decay.

Within just six short weeks of its inception, police officers assigned to the Farm Road Project visited every household and business establishment in the community.

They collected data and intelligence on environmental concerns, health issues, housing problems and criminal activities.

The police team was later joined by representatives from the Department of Social Services, the Ministry of Housing, Health Services and the Ministry of Works.

The team removed derelict vehicles, organised the demolition of abandoned buildings, dismantled street drug peddling groups, and arrested a number of prolific offenders. These initiatives resulted in a significant reduction in crime.

Within one year of the project's inception, the team established computer literacy centres, a youth marching band, a community development association and the national Urban Renewal Commission.

It also set up similar projects in eight other areas of New Providence, five in Grand Bahama and one in Abaco.

The team was awarded the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police Motorola Community Policing Award in May 2003 and won two other community policing awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

Role of the police in Urban Renewal

Members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who are assigned to the Urban Renewal 2.0 Programme have an expanded scope of police work which includes crime, the fear of crime, quality of life offences, social and physical disorder, and community decay.

These officers are expected to use a full range of talents, skills and abilities to not only prevent and interdict crime, but to also enlarge their role and become community problem-solvers.

About community policing

Community policing focuses on bringing the police and citizens together to prevent crime and solve neighborhood problems. In community policing, the emphasis is on preventing crime.

Preventing crime is a big job. The police are more effective when they can depend on residents for help.

Community policing calls for a commitment to improving the quality of life in neighborhoods. Community Resource Officers (CRO) look to residents for help in solving neighborhood problems.

In essence, community policing gives citizens more control over the quality of life in their community.

General duties and activities of the police under the programme

  • Directed patrol - patrols are specific and intelligence driven, designed to deal with existing and emerging problems in the community. These patrols can be done on foot or in vehicles to facilitate communication and the building of relationships between the officers and community members.

  • Community involvement - Urban Renewal officers must build trusting relationships and partnerships with community members to address their specific problems.

  • Identifying and prioritising problems - community members are encouraged provide officers with information about the problems they face and work with them prioritise issues and problems.

  • Reporting - the Urban Renewal officer must share information with other police officers as well as the RBPF generally and with special sections (DEU, CDU, CIB, SIB, et cetera) about the specifics of his community.

  • Organising - organising activities oriented to specific problems and working to enhance the overall quality of life in the community.

  • Communicating - there are both formal and informal sessions aimed at educating people about crime prevention and other issues as well as managing communication with the media.

  • Conflict resolution - the Urban Renewal officer mediates, negotiates and resolves conflicts formally and informally (and challenges people to begin resolving problems on their own).

  • Referrals - the officer refers problems to specialised agencies.

  • Visiting - Urban Renewal officers make frequent visits to homes and businesses to recruit help and to educate.

  • Recruiting and supervising volunteers - the Urban Renewal officer works with volunteers to address social problems affecting the community.

  • Proactive projects - the Urban Renewal officer works along with the community to solve both long-term and short-term problems aimed at improving the quality of life.

  • Targeting special groups - Urban Renewal police officers will focus on special groups in the community such as the elderly, youth, women, physically challenged persons and the homeless.

  • Targeting disorder - Urban Renewal officers place specific emphasis on social and physical disorders and the degradation of neighbourhoods.

  • Networking with the private sector - the Urban Renewal officer actively communicates with and solicits the assistance of the business community for services and volunteer work.

  • Get to know people - the Urban Renewal officers form relationships with residents so as to learn about their concerns and to build confidence and trust between citizens and the police.


LinseyTaylor 10 years ago

If they are going to have these centers open 24/7 and have officers patrolling 24/7 then I believe it could have some impact. Otherwise, its a waste of our time.


Arob 10 years ago

Before any steps are implemented scientific research (not intuition) is needed.
• “To identify ... the main causes of the social conditions which promote the occurrence of crime and deviant behavior.”
• “To examine ... the quality of life and the social and environmental conditions of high crime communities.” Must determine what Quality of Life means in the Bahamian context.
• “To identify the problems facing our young people” Who are “young people”? Which age group are you referring to? These “young people” should identify the “positive activities and programmes” that would make them productive citizens. Constant monitoring and evaluation are needed. The public should not accept “words” that Urban Renewal 2.0 was a success without empirical evidence.
By the way, if Prime Minister Christie truly believed in this project, the above objectives could have been achieved as a private sector initiative. Why wait five years if you really care .... Chinese proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


MartGM 10 years ago

Very well said! Urban Renewal can be a great project, if the above research is done!! I always wondered why the PLP didn't bother to even continue their form of Urban Renewal in their constituencies (considering the most needed centers are in PLP grassroots strong holds).


B_I_D___ 10 years ago

Urban Renewal 2.0 PLP style...let's create another generation of disrespectful, illiterate kids who don't know their fathers because the morals of this country are in the sewer...heck, below the sewer. We are a nation of lying, cheating, gambling folk that LOVE to go to church on Sundays to forgive our sins...meanwhile all these children are left on the curb with the slack mothers and dead beat dads. What else do we expect to come of this country?


concernedcitizen 10 years ago

you got it right ,now we are going to give jobs to thugs and have the police fixing up houses and dilevering old peoples grocerys


242 10 years ago

LOL! That's what Urban Renewal is?


HaveSomeTruth 10 years ago

I agree with you 200% that we are a nation of gambling, lying, cheating, faux church atendees etc etc. But you never explained why you think UR will not work. You just throw out the insults without any reasoning behind it. Your comment jumps from fathers, rude youth, to lying, cheating, gambling, church. What does UR have to do with them not knowing their fathers? They didn't know their fathers before UR and PC's team came into the community. UR can not do more harm than good. It is a giant start. This article really made me understand it immensely. It's a very hands on approach to crime. They are walking around, door to door, to address the needs. Then they deal with it. I've worked with these type of troubled inner city people and the #1 thing I noticed is they just really want someone to care. Take an interest in their problem. UR defintely does it as they are talking to each individual in the area. I say keep it going.


242 10 years ago

If I didn't see gang graffiti spray on the side of one a them UR 1.0 buildins back in the day I woulda take it more serious then. But now this is the revamped 2.0 version so I am willing to see what changes have been made to make it work


concernedcitizen 10 years ago

we got to go to church on sunday to be in favor with God so he can send us the winning number in our dreams ,,,it would be funny if it wasn,t so serious


veeayebee 9 years, 5 months ago

urban renewal = waste of time and money


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