Dr David Allen has called for measures to take on the rate of violent crime in The Bahamas.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
POSITING that anger and the rate of violent crime in the country were critically linked, renowned psychologist Dr David Allen is calling for the imposition of mandatory national service and a national curfew in “high crime areas”.
The suggestions are among a list of recommendations to combat crime based on the findings of his community-based outreach project “The Family: People Helping People” in an advertisment in national daily newspapers today.
Dr Allen said: “Each person must spend some time working in the best interest of our little country, The Bahamas. For young people coming out of high school, there should be a period of national service from one to two years in duration.
“Older persons should be willing to contribute several weekends per year.
“The Bahamas is a beautiful place, but unless it is cared for, the nation will be destroyed,” he added.
A complementary programme to national service, Dr Allen said, would be the establishing of a well-organized cadet programme attached to various branches of law enforcement with pathways to future employment.
Dr Allen acknowledged that the imposition of a curfew was a “debatable” strategy; however, he noted that “drastic times demand drastic measures”. He said that curfews must be well planned, clearly defined and efficiently executed.
“Our challenge is that unless we reduce the anger rate in the country, it may be very difficult to reduce the rate of homicides and violent crimes,” the release issued yesterday read.
“The journey of reducing the crime rate in The Bahamas is no easy feat. It will take time, patience and intense effort but hopefully these points can function as a first step to helping us move toward a crime-free Bahamas.”
Recommendations call for the appointment of a citizen security council to bridge the gap between government policy and community concerns; the use of foreign law enforcement and the Defence Force; legal reform on capital punishment, bail restrictions, and the witness protection programme; to establish a residential programme for at-risk young men; psychological support for law enforcement; and the use of CCTV in high crime areas.
The Family project has 26 focus groups ongoing in New Providence, and data collected indicate that the top six crime issues are: anger; violence; grief and sadness; relationship dysfunction; abuse; and suicidal ideation and depression.
For Dr David Allen’s full anti-crime plan, see page 14