Director of a local crime prevention agency is calling for communities to "get back to basics" as it relates to the rearing and instilling of values in the youth.

Head of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), Cheryl Willoughby, said the time had come for community members to take ownership of their neighbourhoods by playing a more active role in the raising and shaping the minds of their children.

She was speaking this morning at the prize-giving ceremony for the Task Force’s fourth Annual Primary and Secondary Schools Art Competition entitled: Reducing Crime in our Schools held at the PomMarine Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

While applauding the budding artists for utilising the concept of neighbourhood watches in their drawings, Ms. Willoughby made it known that a lot of work still had to be done within the various neighbourhoods.

"Community members have a responsibility to not only call the police when they see a crime is being committed, but they also have a responsibility to mobilise themselves; to empower themselves; to secure their places; as well as to put activities in place that will encourage other community members to get involved in the crime prevention effort," she maintained.

The Director, told those in attendance that gone were the days when a community raised a child: "In neighbourhoods, regardless of if someone was your family member, your parent or a friend, they were accountable for you.

They assisted with the parenting and they also made sure that the young people led a productive life.?? And, I strongly believe that is something we are lacking," she contended.

?????????????????? The NTFCP Head also expressed concern about the number of neighbourhood watch programmes that were currently dormant and she pointed out that plans were on stream to revitalise some of them.

"Research has shown, that throughout the world, neighbourhood watches are very effective at stymying the levels of crime within specific communities and we need to acknowledge that," she stressed.

The winners walked away with trophies and gift certificates ranging from $200 to $500.

The top prize in the six to eight category went to Shaliyah Wood of Wesley Hall Primary; while in the 9 to age 11 group, Christon Fitt of The People’s Cathedral took top honours.?? Chakiya Chase of Deighton Griffith Secondary won in the 12 to 14 category, and Callum Wright of Queen’s College won in the 15 to 17 age group.????

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