URBAN Renewal is set to launch a door-to-door survey in New Providence in an effort to determine the prevalence of factors that lead to crime.
Announcing the survey as part of Operation Ceasefire yesterday, Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage said it will investigate questions such as: living conditions, crime, social behaviour, special circumstances of households, employment status, education, and persons with special needs.
“It would be appreciated if residents would express their views frankly and relate their experiences as best they can, so that the information collected is as accurate as possible,” Dr Nottage said.
“We are seeking to gather information so that government’s interventions are focused and meet the real needs of individuals and households in the communities.
The minister – who represents Bain and Grants Town, one of the areas targeted in the survey – said it is often suggested that MPs already know the problems in their constituencies.
“The truth of the matter is, that while we have interacted with persons in the communities, and can give an overview of the major concerns, what we are now seeking to do, is to collect data and have it properly analysed, so that we can more effectively utilise the resources that are available to government in targeting issues facing these communities,” he said.
Dr Nottage said the government also wants to pay attention to abandoned buildings and homes that are plagued by vandalism, which tend to be used to facilitate the sale of drugs, prostitution and other illicit activities.
“We are also seeking to review the state of rental properties in these areas, to ensure that landlords are providing safe and decent housing for the poor or persons with little means,” he said.
“We also want to identify each and every person with disabilities and ensure that they receive the care and attention, which is required for their well being.”
Phase One of the survey will be conducted in Bain and Grants Town, Centreville and Englerston.
Dr Nottage said: “These areas were chosen based on their population density, perceived living conditions and the crime statistics for 2013. The crime statistics clearly demonstrated that there were more murders committed in these three areas than any other in New Providence.”
“We must remember that areas like Bain and Grants Town, Centreville and Englerston were once the life blood of our City. It was never meant for these areas to be so densely populated or for the living conditions to be in the current state, but they are, and we must find ways to provide better living conditions and to reclaim the deteriorating areas of these communities.
“We intend to visit each and every household in these constituencies and questions will be posed to the head of each household or the adult person who is at home at the time of the interviewer’s visit.”
The survey questionnaire is in two parts. The first relates to social and economic conditions and the second to the concept of crime in communities.
The Inspector in charge of the Four Urban Renewal Offices in the target constituencies will supervise the administration of the survey.
The data will be collected by individuals who are familiar with the communities, Dr Nottage said.
They will include trained social workers, officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force, who are normally assigned to the Urban Renewal Offices, and individuals from the communities.
“They are chosen because of their discipline, courteous approach and the fact of their knowledge of the areas,” he said.
This first phase of the survey is expected to be completed within a period of six to eight weeks, after which other areas will be surveyed until the process is completed.
Once the data has been analysed, Dr Nottage said, Urban Renewal will use it “to continue to address the pressing needs of residents in order to bring more targeted and comprehensive relief to the communities, reduce criminal activities and improve living conditions.”
Meanwhile, over the past two weeks, he said, the government has also hardened its approach to dealing with crime after it happens.
“With the acquisition of additional vehicles, saturation patrols in the inner city communities has been intensified, a Flying Squad has been activated to better monitor prolific criminals, and intelligence gathering capabilities has been enhanced.
“The Firearms Unit has been fully resourced and has been extremely successful at retrieving guns from tips provided by the general public. More manpower has been brought to the front lines using police reserves.”