Government is seeking to make more informed decisions in its response to crime in Barbados.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, made this announcement as he addressed the opening ceremony of a workshop to launch the Barbados Crime Victimization Survey (BCVS) at United Nations (UN) House on Monday.
Making reference to the 30 murders recorded in Barbados for the year so far, and that most of them were attributed to young people under the age of 25, the Attorney General said such “unprecedented activity” could lead to a “scattershot approach” in dealing with the problem.
“In challenging times like these, the decision-making has to be right, and it has to be made at the right time,” he said.
He noted that initiatives such as the BCVS, implemented under the CariSECURE project, would enable government to make the “right decision at the right time”.
Mr. Marshall explained that presently, government relied on statistics provided by the Royal Barbados Police Force, which only captured reported crimes.
“One of our challenges is how do we direct our limited resources, both financial and human. We need to direct them to the areas where they are most needed, but at the same time, there are a number of factors that would help to determine where they are needed. [So] these kind of statistical efforts would help us to make the right decisions,” he said, noting that they would also allow for better comparisons and the sharing of best practices.”
Mr. Marshall added that the thrust of CariSECURE on fostering evidence-based policymaking and better decisions based on standardized and disaggregated crime data was most welcomed, as it supported government’s approach towards the prevention and combatting of crime in Barbados.
“This workshop on the design of victimization surveys will place another valuable tool at the disposal of those working in the justice sector, and the results of those surveys will benefit planners across the government,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, explained that crime victimization surveys were recognized globally as important tools to help governments understand the full picture of a country’s crime problem.
She noted that they capture unreported crimes and supplement the reported ones, which improves the fidelity of the data and ensures the needs of vulnerable populations are addressed.
“The new information gained from the survey will then enable the government to gauge perceptions of the police, assess crime victimization and identify important trends, like crime in schools, crime locations and victim profiling that are not always captured by official administrative crime data,” the US Ambassador said.
She added that government, through the survey, would then have a better understanding of the crime situation, so policymakers could develop more effective polices and crime interventions that could contribute to a reduction in crime and safer communities.