St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); “Most of the criminal activities that are being committed are committed by young people within that 15 to 30 age range.”
This is according to Police Commissioner Ian Queeley speaking on the issue of engaging the community in reaching out to the youth involved in criminal activity and those who are leaning in that direction.
This continues to be a major focus of the Ministry of National Security’s National Crime Reduction and Prevention Strategy.
“Speaking about crimes of violence; those are the crimes that drive the most fear within our communities, and these crimes are committed by persons from within the community. These persons have parents who go to the church, and this is why we are talking about an all-inclusive and wholesome approach; we have people who go to the church, persons who are involve in sporting activities …and so we would want to see how we can engage them [the youth] in a meaningful way and it’s for that reason why part of our strategy is to engage them in the early stages.
“We want to prevent things before we have to detect things.”
The Commissioner said a number of police initiated programs in the schools have been revamped, including the Teens and Policing Service (TAPS) program and having liaison officers attached to schools, in an effort to steer youngsters away from antisocial behavior at the earliest possible stages.
To that end authorities are utilizing several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are aimed at targeting and rehabilitating young persons involved in gangs and other criminal activities.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty:
“We are linking with at least two NGOs – one is a newly formed NGO called The Lifetime Touch Incorporated which has just been registered and incorporated, and they are going to be rolling out some programs getting people to go into the communities and interact with gang members or potential gang members and work with them.
“There’s another USAID funded program called Community Family and Youth Resilience. They are introducing something called ‘violence interrupters’ which is going to get people to train persons to go and interact with gang members or people who are potentially leaning in that direction and try to help. So those are two of the groups we are going to link up with as part of the strategy.”
Mr. Petty said as the outreach aspect of the National Crime Reduction and Prevention Strategy is now being rolled out in earnest, he is positive that it will bear fruit as the authorities continue to try to curb youth and other violence in the federation.