The recent upsurge in gun crime is beginning to hurt the local business sector, and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) plans to intervene.
That is according to BVICCHA Chairman, Louis Potter.
“Crime is never something that you want to encourage in a community and the very fact that it is gun crimes and it’s happening in the evening, it definitely has an impact on the way people move around the community and will have an impact on business,” he said.
Streetlights are still being restored in the territory and Potter believes unlit streets encourage assailants to participate in criminal activities under the cover of night.
The BVICCHA boss, therefore, said police must become noticeably more serious about fighting crime.
“It is not enough for us to wait until we begin to get the shooting and the killing. We must stamp out criminal activity of all kinds.”
He further said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force’s mission against crime should be stronger and clearer to residents.
“[They should] enforce laws across the board so that people understand that there is a no tolerance,” he reasoned.
According to Potter, talks are underway to address the issue from the Association’s standpoint. He said he would also like community policing to be re-implemented.
Effectively, community policing is a law enforcement strategy that focuses on building ties and working closely with community members.
“That begun to take off and then it just fizzled out. We would like to see that return,” Potter said.
Potter also endorsed the RVIPF’s move to partner with the larger law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom. UK detectives are in the territory assisting to solve serious crimes such as murder.
He also said he supports having closed-circuit television, also known as CCTV video surveillance. However, he said it must be done in a way that does not invade people’s privacy.
The territory has seen a considerable increase in gun crime since the start of the year and Police Commissioner Michael Matthews believes they are drug and gang-related.
Local law enforcement agencies are now rolling out a new security plan that is expected to stabilize the crime upsurge.
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