• On Sunday, the FNM released a statement with their recommendations for dealing with crime:
Dear Prime Minister & Minister of National Security,
As you must be aware, during the past several weeks our country, in particular on the island of New Providence has experienced an unusual increase in violent crimes – specifically, Gun Violence. This increase is of deep concern to the members of the opposition, and myself. Carrying out our duty as the official opposition, we have compiled several recommendations which should enable the government, if taken, to tackle this issue. Below are the recommendations:
• Increase police presence in hotspot areas to either deter crimes or enable quick response in the event that a crime is committed. Increase use of police mobile vans will assist this effort
• Eliminate the habitat where criminality flourishes. This includes eliminating derelict cars, dilapidated houses, overgrown lots, and gathering spots for known criminal enterprises. These activities also create employment opportunities to those unemployed in our society.
• Deploy intelligence officers throughout the inner cities to proactively diffuse criminal activities and gather invaluable information.
• Increase border protection and inspections especially pleasure crafts and private planes. This also assists in detecting the importation of firearms.
• Engage regional partners toward the involvement of undercover national security operatives to infiltrate and dismantle organized gangs in the country. This regional corporation allows us to break up cross-border criminal enterprises. Also allows us to adopt best practices that are employed in other regions
• Extend the neighbourhood watch programme to the inner city and Over the Hill communities. Local Associations should be set up with community police participation and guidance
• Expand the capacity to utilize drones and to tie their deployment to the shot spotter system implemented by the FNM, thus improving the ability to follow and trace traffic movements immediately after the system alerts that gunshots have been fired.
• Increase and enhance monitoring of persons on bail.
• Encourage police to reintroduce the element of surprise. (I.e currently police constantly flashing lights, which shows criminals that they are near and allows them to hide.)
• Reintroduce police foot patrols in crime-ridden communities
• Reintroduce and expand the violence breakers programme
• Immediately convene meetings throughout the community with feuding gangs and communities to interrupt the cycle of violence
• Promote an ideology that there are eyes watching them everywhere (CCTV/ Whistle-blower concept)
• Promote the success of the CCTV programme, which would show criminals that they are working and operational and would also deter criminal actions
• Allocate and carefully manage resources required by Police and Defence Force officers so that they can outperform the criminals they are presently competing with.
• The Government and the Police senior command should work amicably and professionally with the Police Staff Association in ensuring that the officers are not disadvantaged and to ensure that their morale is high.
• Engage Faith-based organizations and other social partners to empower their existing anti-crime initiatives or work to help them introduce some.
• Provide counseling for family and friends of murdered, injured, and rape victims to address the anger, shame, and desire to take revenge that many of them experience.
• Increase training and capacity building of law enforcement agencies and in particular, leadership.
• Strategically select at least 2-3 promising individuals to go on commissioners’ course.
• Develop a zero-tolerance for crime in the community and among law enforcement officers.
• Reduce political interference in the day-to-day operations of Law Enforcement agencies.
• Enhance the enforcement of Vagrancy Laws.
• Create new Gang Legislation to discourage the formation and membership of gangs.
• Review legislations from other countries that have had similar issues
• Establish an inter-sectoral non-partisan Crime Commission. This group would have autonomy to study all aspects of crime challenges we face and make recommendations on actions required to be addressed.
• Establish consultative committees to be in each police station for a divisional policing plan with a cross-section of individuals – this should include a cross-section of members of the community, including local government practitioners who would be able to rely to the police what exactly are the policing needs of their community.
• Work with community-based partners to identify potential problems and existing feuds that may escalate into violent acts and then intervene and resolve such feuds.
• Implement a gun amnesty initiative and a reward system for information leading to securing illegal firearms and ammunition.
• Create a range of employment, skills training, socialization programmes – where they already exist, increase recruitment and strengthen retention, and recreational programmes that especially target 17-35-year-olds. Every inner-city community should have such initiatives that are properly funded and professionally administered.
• Create and or enhance recreational spaces, parks, and community centers where persons of all ages can be accommodated in a safe and healthy way for individual and group activities.
• Publish and distribute a directory of all youth, cultural, and civic organizations in the country so that every child and young adult can see what is available for them to participate in.
• Increase efforts to decrease the case backlog in our courts.
• Increase efforts to maintain maximum amount of courts functioning to capacity to ensure timely trials.
• Improve the Corrections facilities including increasing rehabilitation programmes; separation of first-time youth offenders from general prison population; facilitating orderly reintegration into society after time served and we must work out a compensation system for some prison work carried out by inmates and for victims of crimes.
• Consideration must be given to widening the mandatory participation of all high school students in voluntary work at one of the country’s established charitable non-governmental organizations.
• Government should solicit the full support of the church and other established youth organizations such as Boys/Girls Clubs to assist with organized after school activities for high school students.
• Incentivize “Big Brother” type organizations
• Service clubs such as Rotary and Rotaract, Kiwanis and Kiwanis Youth, the Zonta Club and Lodges and Friendly Societies should all develop Mentorship programmers target at boys and girls in every primary and middle school throughout the country