03 August, 2007

Crime Reduction

Name and Shame. Drive-by shootings and pointless killings are now the night-time activities of increasing numbers of our youth. I wonder if it ever occurred to our Royal police force that one of the most potent tools they have in the struggle against crime is the power of public relations. I have written in the past about the need for the force to improve its public relations. But, there is another aspect. It is the power to name and shame. I have also asked in the past for there to be more naming and shaming in the future. Even if the little hooligans are not embarrassed to have their names, addresses, and names of relatives mentioned in connection with their arrest, their family members certainly will. They will bring to bear the corrective pressure they might not otherwise have exercised if they know that their names are likely to be published in such a context. Shame and scandal are powerful tools in the police cupboard. Why are they not used more effectively?

One of my readers thought that we might like to see how it works in other countries. He sent me the following link to the Colorado Springs Police Blotter. Read it and consider how easy it would be for us to publish a similar report each week. I know that Nat Hodge of The Anguillian would charge to publish it. Whatever he charged, and I am sure he would be very reasonable, would be well worth the savings in loss and expenses from the crimes that would be avoided by this type of publicity.

What do you think?


  1. In a small community like Anguilla, such publicity would be extremely effective. But we have been conditioned by a culture of secrecy. It starts with the Governor, and the Governor needs to set an example of open government, not give speeches about it. Here is an example of how not to handle pubic information:

    Royal Gazette
    Hamilton, Bermuda
    November 16, 2004
    Governors set to visit

    Government House will be hosting a Governors' Conference sometime next month. A Government House spokesperson said the conference was a private, in-house event, and as such she would give no further details on it.

    Copyright 20©04 The Royal Gazette Ltd.

  2. "People in Montserrat do not demand to know the precise details of every criminal investigation, but they do reasonably expect the RPMF to be forthright enough about such incidents so they don't feel they're being kept in the dark."
    --Montserrat Reporter

  3. It is secrecy that has to be justified, not openness.

  4. When you have a Government that isn't producing any information, then you have people who listen to propaganda.

  5. I totally agree, naming and shaming can help in curtailing crime

  6. I totally agree

  7. They announced that Marlon Petty was charged with the gun incident in MAy when a young lady was shot in her hand.

    The RAPF needs to higher a Police Spokesperson. Or give the officers communication training.

  8. People are saying Marlon Petty has been released and is walking the streets. If this is true, was he acquitted, is he out on bail or is this a State Secret? What would happen if everyone in Anguilla knew the answer to simple questions like this? Are the police protecting me or are they protecting Marlon Petty?

  9. I agree, and would like to add some logic of my own (likely consistent with your thinking):

    1) Wealthy people (like the ones with the private jets and millions for villas) have choices - they can go anywhere they want.

    2) They follow each other around (that's why some places are "in" and some are "not")

    3) Anguilla has been "in" because of

    a) low crime
    b) beaches with few people
    c) little development
    c) friendliness of locals

    4) Approval of over 5,000 rooms in the next 12 years, doubling the population with people for whom Anguilla is not sacred, hiring foreign labour on unconscionable terms, neglecting the training and future employment of Anguillians and finally, the meteoric rise in crime of the scariest nature (rape, violence, murder) will all contribute to #5:

    5) Consequences:
    a) People with choices will go elsewhere
    b) Large developments will become insolvent
    c) No-one will pay for the clean-up
    d) Unfinished buildings will be eyesores
    e) Unemployment will soar
    f) Crime will further skyrocket
    g) Anguilla will be a testament to the consequences of the mismanagement of government at all levels (including the incompetent police force).

    6) Kind of a shame, isn't it!

  10. We went to SXM last week. We had to go through the metal detector gate, empty our pockets and put the contents in a basket and have our handbags x-rayed. Lovely trip, good lunch. We came back on AXA: No x-ray, no empty out your pockets, no metal detector gates. And I got upset. Guns are made of metal how easy to get one in SXM and bring it in!
    Who cares what I carry out of AXA, It's what I carry IN that matters most right now. How about bringing the whole equipment over 15 yards and fight crime right at the borders. Make it just a bit harder?

  11. If the police had not taken till Aug to charge the guy for a shooting in May there might not have been 4 more people shot, 2 of which died (seems it may be the same shooter). And these killings may result in more revenge killings, etc. Many people may die because the police moved too slowly.

  12. As a preface to my comments, I do not presume to tell Anguillians how to carry out their affairs. I can only share information based on my personal experience and hope that it is received in the constructive spirit with which it is offered:

    1) U.S. newspapers always (to my knowledge) publish names of people when they are arrested/arraigned for trial for serious crimes -- not just after a verdict. I agree that routine publication of such information is useful.

    2) Clearly, a US city like Boston with 500,000 people (5 million in the greater metropolitan area) is different from Anguilla in many respects -- good and bad. But the concept of citizens working together to benefit the whole community is not so different. One example of such a partnership is The Boston Foundation: http://www.thebostonfoundation.org TBF also
    researches and publishes information about many aspects of life in Boston. (See http://www.bostonindicators.org/IndicatorsProject This section of the report speaks of "Partnerships for Violence Reduction" and may be of interest: http://www.bostonindicators.org/IndicatorsProject/PublicSafety/Indicator.aspx?id=3870

    Submitted with respect.

  13. It is time that our elected representative stop giving lip services to a problem, that is clearly out of control and do what they were elected to do. Consideration should be given to gang-related legislation.


    Unfortunately legislation without a law enforcement system to enforce it means that we are just blowing hot air

  14. Anyone who has information go to www.gov.ai and look for RESIDENTS. Under emrgency servcies you will see a RAPF report form.

    I have said repeately the RAPF eeds to invest in information technology. Is it so hard for them to have their own wewebsite? Can't they hire a webmaster? We need crime statistics to available online. Give the public the info.

  15. Folks, it's real simple. Pass a stand-your-ground concealed-carry handgun-permit law.

    It'll take exactly one incident like this after that law is passed for all this nonsense to stop in its tracks. If that.

    Criminals are cowards. *Nobody* is going to try to do a drive-by shooting if there's the least possibility that the *crowd* will immediately return fire. It's the great paradox of the modern age, but it's still true that more guns in the hands of *more* people, actually *reduces* crime.

    Remember that the government actually stopped issuing *any* gun permits 3-4 years ago. So, ask yourself: *When* did all this start? Think about *that*.

    Do not disarm victims. Self-defense is an innate human right.

  16. From the front page of Anguilla News:

    "Stacy-Ann Laurent (née Brooks) , a young wife and security officer at WallBlake airport, was shot and killed on Friday evening in the vicinity of J&J's pizza hut in South Hill. The victim was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a car her husband was driving. She suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head. "

    So. If she was a security guard, at the airport, and was issued a weapon (I bet she wasn't), and trained to use it (I bet she wasn't), and allowed to carry it off-hours (I bet she wasn't), do you think that she would be alive today?

    I do.

  17. I live in the USA and most cities have made reports of crimes and those arrested availabe to the public under the freedom of information act.
    These are freely broadcast in the news media (tv,radio and internet)Anguilla should really do some catching up and take the bold step to help redirect this negative course that we are heading.All the Police Departments have spokespersons who dissiminate relevant information to the public.We need to come around and do what must be done .
    By the way I think that anyone convicted of crimes immmorality or dishonesty should never hold a public office or run for public office. Good Lord man,do we want to be governed by a bunch of hoodlums and gangsters?I think not ,and I hope to God we are not the gullible to fall for such idiotic bull.As good stewards we need to make a statement and so NO to that notion of have our country run by convicted criminals.

  18. Throughout most of the U.S. the public may view written crime reports at will, without having to make a freedom of information application. In cases involving sexual crimes, the names, addresses, etc. are blacked out to protect the privacy of victims, but these reports are still available to the public.

    While few people bother to go to their local police station periodically to look through all the reports, the media does, and that's what's important and effective. There is no good reason for the RAPF to manage the news as they do, feeding us as if we were small birds, and then complain about how we don't cooperate in giving them information. Those who want equity must DO equity.


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