It pains me that our society is so laid back and nonchalant, worse is our dependency on studies, research, and committee. In other words we like to waste time, because we are not in a rush. This relaxed attitude has festered a complacency and attitude of blamism or passing the buck. Government after government blames the other, the church blames the government, and the police blame the courts. Is there no man or woman in the country who wants take responsibility? It is not my problem, or do not get involved. That is why in my opinion crime is at the levels it is. We refuse to be our brother's keeper; we have refused to be the help, because we are too concerned about ourselves. Unless we get of our butts and knees for a matter of fact and take action, all of us Bahamian and Tourist alike from Abaco to Inagua will suffer.
So now we run around like behead chickens in an effort to correct the problems that exist, not one that is developing. The reality is it is ok or rather reasonable to shoot at persons on Bay Street during the day light hours, it is ok to kill a police officer and burn down their (public funded premises) police station. If this is not a clear indication of a call to action then I do not know what is. I am again putting forward the following recommendations, these are action orientated, which means they need to happen NOW.
It has become painfully obvious that our approach to community policing has failed, we can play with as much as we want. The last 5 years of Urban Renewal, despite the numerous 'awards' has left us with increased crime and a fear that has seriously damaged our quality of life. As we move forward an adjustment and change is necessary for the delivery of quality police service. The Community Policing concept has its contemporary roots with the New York City Police Department in 1994 and is from this management concept where many policing strategies including COMPS TAT, came from. It is unfortunate however that the apparent true meaning of this concept has been lost in translation thus application, as really Community Policing really means the community policing themselves, not simply the police in the community. It was never intended for the police to 'baby-sit' / 'counsel' the community, that's what the church schools and civic groups are for. If the citizenry are note prepared to correct / report their own era, then police, who will always be seen as outsiders are up against insurmountable odds. I say this from experience, because after the Bahamian delegation which consisted of now Commissioner of Police came back from their observation of the New York initiative I along with 13 other officers were selected to research and head the first the Community Police Pilot Project based out of the Quakoo Street Police Station. Our conclusions notably were that;
The initiative could not be sustained if the community did not buy into the concept
The Royal Bahamas Police Force with all the best intentions was not the best sales persons for this concept.
An NGO / other government agency (Social Service) should spearhead the community policing program
I invite you to read books such as the COMPSTAT Paradigm by Vincent E. Henry, Fixing Broken Windows by George L. Kellings & Catherine M. Coles, and Urban Renewal the Slaughter Cities by E. Michael Jones. These books to name a few speak to the experimenting of social engineering by governments to create the ideal society.
1. Let the police do policing, his is what they are trained to do, community policing even though it caries with the word 'policing' is really a task in my opinion left to the churches, schools and civic groups. These units must sell the need for policing they must convince the general populace that police are their friends and more importantly they the public have a part to play in keeping their streets and communities safe.
2. The police must be seen as service providers who deliver timely, consistent and impartial maintenance of law and order from the person who litters to the person who commits hernias of crimes.
3. The police must beheld accountable for their failure to
Zero Tolerance Policing
as stated earlier the modern Community Policing Concept was birth in New York in the mid 90's. Rudolph Giuliani newly elected Mayor and William Bratton then Commissioner of Police never intended for the police to not police in fact it was just the opposite the police were to police vigorously. This meant that the police success depended on addressing with professionalism the minor infractions consistently and impartially. This is outlined in great detail in there book Fixing Broken Windows by George L. Kellings & Catherine M. Coles. We have moved from this, but such is the culture of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Generally the members of the RBPF, are more concerned about the big drug arrest, ad murder investigation than improving the quality of life that will reduce these major events. Further, there is lack of appreciation and understanding that enforcement of a broken tail light usually leads to big more complex forms of criminality on one hand and reduction / reluctance to commit more serious crimes on the other.
1. Every police officer (practically marked patrol units) should be equipped to handle traffic infractions, by issuing tickets (fixed penalties). Why do we buckle-up in the United States, because the law will be enforced, zero tolerance should immediately made policy not some new scheme.
2. All street side vendors should have the proper license and credentials to sell their items, be it the peanut vendors to fruit and fresh vegetable vendors.
3. All night clubs / bars must check ID of patrons; if minors are found in the establishment fines must be imposed.
4. Parents must be held accountable in some form for the actions of their minor children.
Crime Reporting Network
There needs to be real demonstrations of a united front against criminality not just lip service. My experience in law enforcement especially the tightly nit communities such as Fox Hill, Nassau Village, Bimini, has seen the unprecedented communication network that exist. When we the police came into those communities within a few seconds the entire community was made aware of our presence. A positive example of this is Lil' Blair of Village Road, their
crime watch operation is one that the entire Island of New Providence should model after.
1. The accessibility of cell phones should be taken advantage of where if a crime is committed (especially stolen vehicles) a text message should be sent free of charge to all persons who have a phone, advising them to be on the look out for suspects and report it to the police.
2. BTC, Cable Bahamas, BEC, Taxi Drivers, all of these agencies / groups have radio communications, similarly when an incident occurs, they can be advised / alerted, communicate their observations to the police.
3. Harness the numerous security companies and departments that exist in the country. These groups out number the police and can be additional eyes and ears for the reporting of crime.
National Youth Service
In my opinion the infrastructure for this already exist, via the Boys / Girls Brigades & Scouts, the Pathfinders and the other numerous church and civic groups. We see this demonstration of youth power only during the Remembrance Day Service, yet year long these organizations are doing their part to save and direct youth of country. Statistics will show that the traditional
crime offender is the male between 15 - 30 years, what stats do not show however, are the causation factors. The young Bahamian male is not lacking in role models in my opinion, he just has the wrong role models. He is being educated on the street by peers who themselves have not been directed properly a classic example of the blind leading the blind. He is also being exposed to cultures and behavior that is not his own, the music and lyrics of the Jamaican and American artist speak of the Jamaican and American experience. The Bahamian male hears this reality and attempts to make it the Bahamian experience. Finally, what the stats do not tell us that the Bahamian female has a tremendous influence on how the Bahamian male behaves, she through her naivety and negative role models glorifies and exalts the 'Bad Boy' and 'Ruff Neck' images that her Jamaican, and American counterparts do.
These youth groups should be invested in by government and private entities so that there work can be given more teeth to bite in the affects of social ills. Efforts should be directed to booth the young men and women. , need to be directed and guided along clear paths.
is the President of Preventative Measures, a Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Training and Consulting Company, specializing in Policy and Procedure Development, Business Security Reviews and Audits, & Emergency and Crisis Management. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas or, email
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