Gangs and youth crimes

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Gangs and youth crimes
Felicia Dujon
Felicia Dujon

(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – As the death toll continues to increase, the government has yet to formulate an affirmative course of action to reduce the levels of gun and gang-related violence among the youth.

Following from the Crime Symposium held on November 24th 2017, the State has provided limited information regarding what alternatives will be implemented to tackle this growing and frightening epidemic. The overarching concern is that many young males will continue to lose their lives through senseless acts of gang related retaliation.

The president of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute, Ms. Felicia Dujon, is adamant that young men are losing their way at very early ages in their lives. Boys as young as 13 years old are murdered due to gang-related violence. Dujon states that ‘’ We need to distinguish between gun violence and violent crimes.

The government should make a deliberate effort to address violent crimes where guns are the weapons of choice. We are overlooking key components where access to guns are concerned; for instance how are illegal guns being funded? In addition, we need to ensure that existing laws on gun violence reflects our current society. Laws alone cannot resolve gun violence, we should also perceive gun violence as a health issue due to the financial burden it places on our healthcare.

Dujon adds that youth involved in gun violence have lost hope in themselves and their communities. They feel hopeless without any real solutions to feel secure about their future. Many of them are high school dropouts, some are unemployed, while some are on the streets trying to escape the poor living conditions in their homes and communities. In addition, we have observed the numbers of young men with mental health issues which triggers various forms of anti-social behaviors- all of which must be addressed.

This is a human rights issue – a fundamental issue in which these young men are marginalized by social and economic disparities. It is also a gender issue inasmuch as the concerns of young boys are not being addressed effectively. They do not feel that they are part of a society, a culture in which they should be included. They have little educational and developmental opportunity – so gang life becomes a matter of survival and not an individual choice.

They are being discriminated against because of where they live – a ghetto life has less value than that of the average citizen. We need to be more inclusive in our approach with our young men. We need to invite them to our policy meetings and ensure that their voices are being heard. We cannot implement solutions when the beneficiaries are not included in the processes that will affect their lives.

The prevention, reduction and punishment of crime cannot be achieved holistically if these youth and their communities are not included. A major nationwide anti-gun advocacy is needed to educate, sensitize and address the growing gun -violence epidemic which continues to plague our country.

In a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015 as part of the country’s Universal Periodic Review, the government of Saint Lucia states that “[in recent years, Saint Lucia has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a myriad of gang related activity”.

According to a survey of public perceptions on security in six Eastern Caribbean countries, including Saint Lucia, conducted between January and March of 2016 by the Latin America Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), 87 percent of respondents in the surveyed countries stated that “gangs had little or no effect in their neighbourhood” adding that, “overall, perceptions of gang activity across all [surveyed] countries are low” (LAPOP 27 March 2016, 32).

According to the US Department of State’s 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, “[m]any of the homicides that… occur [in seven Eastern Caribbean countries, including in Saint Lucia] are a result of turf wars between organized groups fighting for control of drug distribution” (US March 2017, 151).

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Enough of those lame academic excuses!

    Those involved in gang warfare are materialistic individuals looking for a short-cut to get wealth but without hard work. They have learnt this from movies, their societies, their peers and their parents. Hope? They have hope. They have lots of it.

    The youth have not lost hope. They hope to gain easy material wealth by force and violence and hope to keep their gains and enjoy them, even when that is mostly for a short while. Pay attention to how many die under age 20..

    Are you kidding? Writer, like you, the youth have terribly been misguided. The youth, they have lots of hope.

    They pay a huge price for their kind of hope. Some a will to pay the price. The age of reason is seven years. By then, unless retarded, anyone should know right from wrong. That is even when some adults willfully fail to pay any attention to this.

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    • Ivory Tower solutions make for wonderfully nice articles. Beyond this, their usefulness is quite debatable.

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  2. I think one way to stop gang violence is by assigning two police officers, SSU that is to each block/ghetto, a 24 hour kinda thing. e.g. for Grave yard, assign two officers there so they can monitor suspicious activities, constant watch for any strange characters coming in the area at certain times, surveillance cameras should be placed in each ghetto as well, daily searches for weapons and groups who seem like gangs should be stopped by police officers to be searched.

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  3. Ever since we adopted ganja as part of the religious practice of the rasta cult, half-crazed people have been roaming our neighbourhoods. Instead of evolving into a higher state of consciousness, entire societies have descended into a lower state of stupidity. Listen to what passes for music. The pervasive drug-related crimes and violence throughout the Caribbean are ignored at our collective peril. Thirteen-year-olds have now fallen victim. Contrast this with grandmothers as in the New Village area of Castries, acting as police lookouts. We in Saint Lucia are right now caught between a rock and a very hard place.

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    • Some are too brain scattered to make sense of reality. They are perpetually high on the herb. Can these people ever make sense? No. They are out of touch. They are under the influence. Their perceptions are impaired and diminished. Most of them are never in a state of mind to ever determine the real from the fake environment that they create, or the bubble that envelops their fake world. Empty dub music pounding on what is left of their brain just reinforces all of this alternate reality.

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  4. Permit me to share some of my training and Knowledge in Street Gang Intelligence Supervision and Investigation. First of all community Policing is the Modern way of Policing with the various communities and other external partners and agencies. Every Police officer lives in a community and are part of that community regardless, if he works there but don’t live there. His or her role is to know the community that they works and or live in and police with the people in the community. From a stand point the people are their customers or they must remember they are doing a service to the people and by extension the country so they must be fair and treat them with respect. There are various means of measuring police work and key Performance Indicators (K.P.I) I will not elaborate on that now but deal with the issues at hand as to how they can combat crime in a 238 sqml. country such as Saint Lucia. Each Caribbean country have it own population as well as the factors which affects its own. Many at times we give to many reports on the amount of crimes and offences committed but not on the solutions that are realistic as to the approach in dealing with the immediate situation.

    Strategies to Addressing Gang Crime:

    The SARA model (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment), a strategic
    problem-solving process that local law enforcement can apply to its local gang problem.
    1,SCAN—Define the problem carefully.
    2.ANALYZE—Complete a detailed analysis of the dimensions of the problem.
    3.RESPOND—Generate solutions to remove the underlying causes of the problems.
    4.ASSESS—Evaluate the success of such solutions.

    The SARA model has been used successfully in several international and national-level and other projects such as Project Safe Neighborhoods (P.S.N).
    The five elements of a successful gun crime reduction strategy are (1) partnerships, (2) strategic planning, (3) training, (4) community outreach and public awareness, and (5) accountability.

    Scanning for Gang Problems:

    Scanning is the first step in the SARA process. During the scanning phase it is important to identify recurring problems that concern the police and the public and to understand their consequences. In this case, gang crime, gang drug
    dealing, or groups of youths hanging out and disturbing the community may be identified as the problem, but the consequences are wider-reaching and may include such things as disrupted traffic, increased violence, disorder in
    neighborhoods, or increased public fear of crime. Once the problems and their consequences have been identified and given a high priority, it is necessary to determine if problems are indeed gang-related. After all, not all drug dealing, violence, or disorder problems in a community are caused by gangs. Gang-related problems may call for a different set of solutions than problems that do not have gang activity at their core.

    Ask questions
    To scan for the nature of the gang problem in your community, you may wish to ask yourself and your agency the following questions.
    What is your definition of a gang, a gang member, and gang crime? Is this definition built into your Records Management System (RMS)? Are officers trained in how to apply this definition? Many jurisdictions have a check box on their RMS forms to indicate whether a crime involved a gang member. This can be useful both in defining the gang problem and measuring the effectiveness of gang responses.
    How do you track gang crime?

    1.Does your department track the crimes committed by gang members?
    2.Do you separate crimes committed by gang members for any special analysis?
    3. What sources of information about gangs are available to you? Do schools, social service groups, the juvenile court, or hospitals track such information? Are other sources of law enforcement data available ?

    you can access the questionnaire and use it as the basis for scanning to better understand the nature of your local gang problem.
    4. How many gangs are in your jurisdiction? How large is their membership?
    5. How long have gangs been in the area?
    6. How well organized are the gangs in your community?
    7. Do the gangs have leaders?
    8. What are the different roles in the gangs?
    9. What are the ages of gang members?
    10. What is the racial/ethnic composition of gangs?
    11. Are there separate gangs for girls? Do girls belong to male gangs?
    12. Do gangs migrate to your city from other communities? Do gangs in your city imitate or copy those in other countries.
    13. What is the role of the prison and prison gangs in city gang activity?
    14. Do gangs affect management of the local Prison?
    15. Does immigration affect your gang problem?
    16. Are gang members involved in the local and wholesale drug market? Do gangs control drug sales?
    17. Are gang members involved in the retail and wholesale gun market?
    18. What are the predominant crimes in which gang members engage?
    19. What is the role of violence in the gang?
    20. What are the major sources of disruption caused by gangs? Where do these disruptions take place (neighborhood,school, jail, malls, public gathering places, for example)?
    Not all of these questions are appropriate for all communities and, indeed, answering all of them may take too much time or provide too much information to formulate an effective response. But it is important to consider the broader dimensions of the gang problem in initially scanning the local environment for the nature of the gang problem.
    Keeping the broadest scan of the local gang problem, with input from a number of sources, would be the best way to not ignore a significant part of the gang problem. The focus can always be narrowed as the analysis shows more information about the nature of the problem. For now i will just stop on the Scanning part, which is of outmost impo

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