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In light of three gruesome murders last week, as well an unmistakable increase in violent, drug-related crimes, we in Dominica must be aware of not reaching that tipping point where crime would outstrips the capacity of the police and the lives of law-abiding citizens are change dramatically.

Unfortunately, evidence is emerging that there is a growing culture of violence in Dominica that appears to be directly linked to the illegal drugs trade. No one needs to be told what lies further down this road; the uncontrollable state of crime in certain Caribbean nations is well known. Fortunately for us here in Dominica, there is still time to reverse this growing tend if the government, the police force and all other stakeholders take meaningful action now.

The Dominica Police Force has served the island well, up to this point. I have every reason to believe that the lawmen are well aware that in order to fight against the drugs trade and associated evils worldwide, But in order for us to successfully cut down on the amount of illicit drugs on the island there must be a change in the area of intelligence gathering and surveillance by our policemen.

It is extremely encouraging to see that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is fully aware of the importance of the against the illicit drugs trade and has taken steps to strengthen the police force with experienced law enforcement professional form the Diaspora.

If these lawmen can resist the drug trade so forceful that it drives up drug dealer’s risks and costs; just maybe these drug dealers will shift their operators to places where it is easier and cheaper for them to do business.

But will this prevent Dominica from reaching the tipping point with regard to violent crime on the island?

Let’s hear your opinion in the comments below.

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I know this story is outside the usual topics posted on Dominica-Weekly blog, but sometimes you come across stories online that are just outrageous and you can’t help but to share.

Fat Prisoner Released from Prison Early — Too Big for Cell

Prisoner Michel Lapointe, being held in a prison in Ottawa, Canada, has been released early from his sentence because he was too fat for his cell. Lapointe, or Big Mike, ways 250 kilos (450 pounds).

Overall, Lapointe served two years of his five year sentence. His release stated that: “You have been detained for more than 25 months and your prison conditions are difficult because of your health”. Two other facilities refused to take him.

Lapointe, 37, said: “I’m going to have a proper bed and finally have a chair I can sit in. I want a normal life. I’ve done some stupid things and I’ve paid for them.”

——-My Personal Opinion——-

I think it’s safe to say that Lapointe basically ate his way out of person. What-the-hell! Put him on a strict diet and some ‘hard labor’ wouldn’t hurt. I’m curious to know how our prison service here in Dominica would handle a situation like this. 👿

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The current drive by the Dominica Police force to establish a strong “community policing” component is timely, necessary and promises to yield substantial benefits for the nation.

In the past, communities tended to leave crime fighting almost entirely up to the police, but times have changed. Crime has become more pervasive and sophisticated, requiring a more broad-based response from police and society. It is now imperative that law-abiding residents of each town, village and community become more vigilant and active in the fight against crime and interact more closely with the police.

There is ample evidence of an insidious rise in crime in Dominica. There is a marked increase in violent crime and the emergence of new types of crime; crimes like drug dealing, money laundering and internet scams were unknown in former times. Today’s children are exposed to more crime and violence than any generation in recent memory. It is essential that citizens and police join forces to fight crime on every front, from neighborhoods to homes.

Members of the police force must do everything in their power to encourage citizens to redouble their own efforts to reduce crime in their communities. They must liaise with citizens to establish a culture of judicious discernment of and reporting of crime in each neighborhood, as well as relentless advocacy of community programmes to alleviate social problems that create the breeding grounds for crime.

Citizens must be encouraged to move away from their reliance on the police and government to lead the way in fighting crime. Law-abiding citizens can take responsible actions themselves to prevent increasing crime in society. With appropriate guidance and support from police, they can organise themselves into groups and by their collective efforts make significant headway by establishing new limits on crime in their own communities.

Specifically, law-abiding persons in all neighborhoods can raise their communities’ awareness of potential sources of violence and crime. They can spread the word about these sources and campaign strenuously against them. The primary objective would be to get a community commitment to rooting out crime in all its forms. By banding together and with the support of the police they can detect and prevent crime
in its embryonic stages.

Maximum community policing awareness can be the launching pad for the creation of a crime-free environment for each family in each community. By community policing efforts, families can make their homes safer. They can identify crime sources that are specific to their communities and work collectively to eliminate them. The police can develop a more meaningful rapport with such communities, enabling them to get greater information and intelligence about crime and function more effectively.

Through community policing initiatives, households and communities can become more vigilant against crime by themselves, in a reasonable and balanced manner. By their involvement in community policing, citizens can establish guidelines and mechanisms for effective crime fighting. They can create neighborhood networks to detect and respond to crime. By collective vigilance they can more easily and effectively uncover and deal with crime.

Community policing provides citizens with an excellent opportunity to make a more direct contribution to the fight against crime and it also enhance the capacity of the police to do their work. The public should give community policing their wholehearted and unreserved support.

This article was published in the editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper – Issue: August 1st, 2008.

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