Businesses, churches, Constituency Councils, local groups and sporting organisations, all have tremendous power to fight crime and disorder.
That was the assertion of Director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention, Cheryl Willoughby, as she made a call for residents of communities to take charge of the situation and prevent crime.
She was at the time addressing public and private sector stakeholders during a breakfast meeting to discuss the findings of a burglary study entitled: Profiling Burglaries in Barbados at Courtyard by Marriott yesterday.
???Community crime prevention is a key strategy that has been proven extensively across the world to fight crime,??? she said, noting community partnerships continued to work effectively at controlling community-based crime.
???There is need for us to get involved in community activities and report crime to the authorities. [We should] not only report crimes, but also be willing to give evidence in court. No witness, no justice.
???If we have persons who are not willing to come forward and cooperate and go to court and say exactly what they have seen happening with regard to a criminal act, then you will find perpetrators of these acts will continue to go unpunished,??? she stressed.
At the same time, the Director is calling on the management of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to rebuild their community efforts. Mrs. Willoughby noted that the creation of neighbourhood watches, resident beat officer schemes, the DEAR officer scheme and the Juvenille Liaison scheme were all established in 1985/1986 to address crime.
???They have been very effective over the years at building strong relationships between the police and members of the public,??? she noted. She added that these strong relationships between law enforcement officials and the public, enhanced crime fighting efforts through trust and cooperation between the two. ???Without these key elements guilty persons will go unpunished and will continue to perpetrate these crimes,??? she emphasised.
Crime Prevention Officer with the RBPF, Station Sergeant Stephen Griffith, also noted that the work of the force could not be successful without the cooperation of citizens of the country and members of the community.
???The police force cannot work without members of the public, without the community, without the society. We govern the country by the rules laid down by the society, and that involves political persons, the business people, everyone. Everyone here has a responsibility to play,??? he said.
He added: ???If we are going to fight crime, especially burglary, it needs the involvement of every single individual.???