Way to go Kittitians! The police say they got an unprecedented response from the public to solve the tourist robbery. Good job and keep it up! Someone almost always knows who commits a crime, they just don't tell. This is the thorn in the side of every police force worldwide.
I've been reading the comments to the various news reports written and had to laugh when someone said they'd never come back here again - they were going to Jamaica (which is right behind Haiti for crime in the Caribbean). Oh yeah - that's much better! I hear Somalia is nice this time of year too. Sheesh.
Of course, the celebrations were short lived when yet another robbery of a local business took place this morning. This island really is under siege. These jerks keep stealing cell phones, can't we trace the darn things? In this latest one, no one noticed a bunch of fools in wigs depart/return to a vehicle? Really? Come on folks - we know it's a small # of people doing this stuff. Give 'em up and let's squelch this b.s. before it does irreparable harm to every person on this island. The latest is that the public might have helped out there too, so let's hope an arrest is made there soon too.
What would I do? Enforce the laws and focus on the only avenues of entry into this county. There are only two ways to get stuff onto this island - by ship or plane. Period. Focus on air and sea cargo, private planes, and seafaring vessels. Enforce the Quarantine flag. Crew should not be able to leave their vessels unless an inspection has been completed (at the very least of them). Inspectors would be rotated regularly so "relationships" don't develop. Inspect the cars/people coming off the Nevis ferry and the ferry itself.
The Coast Guard should go up and down the ocean and sea coasts and board every single boat they run across - fishing or otherwise. Fishing boats should report unrecognized boats and the CG should come out and check them (maybe the fishermen could get a small stipend for each boat they report). Beach business owners who see vessels pull up should look for inspection stickers or call them in too. Are the freighters that make regular stops here and their cargo being thoroughly checked out? How about the pilot boats that bring those freighters in?
I'm really curious about the cell phones. Are they being resold on-island or shipped off? The cell phone providers could make everyone register their phone serial numbers. If someone's phone is stolen, they could let the provider know. If someone went to turn on service for a stolen phone later, an investigation could be launched. The database would have to be accessible to all providers. Anyone buying a used cell phone, camera, or laptop should be suspicious of where the item(s) came from. People should jot down the serial #s of all their electronics and keep it on file. Should the stuff get stolen, give the #s to the police. The police could conduct raids every once in awhile on establishments known to sell used goods and compare the products against the list of serial #s of items known to be stolen. Someone's buying this stuff.
Maybe invest in some hand-held metal detectors and put stop points around the island and search cars, particularly around tourist areas, but also around schools and popular night spots in the various parishes. Make the locations only known to high-level officials and move the locations unexpectedly during the day/night so that no one can be tipped off.
Knock down vacant/decaying buildings.
Worst case I'd hire the police officers from another island, have the courts draft a one-time search warrant for specific things like drugs, guns, ammo and evidence from previous crimes and then let the cops go unannounced door to door going into homes, vehicles, and business particularly in areas known for crime. I wouldn't take school lockers off the table either. If they find other illegal items, they can't do anything about it because that's not part of the warrant. Start with the homes of the Ministry, police and customs agents (and customs warehouse)...Storage facilities and warehouses should be inspected...one-time warranted, but unannounced.
Anyone caught with an unlicensed gun or ammo gets an automatic 5 years in jail. If it's connected to a crime, make the punishment count. Something more needs to be done!
One of my long-suffering blog readers was shocked that I was suggesting a police state. I'm promoting no such thing and if I am then what's that make the U.S.? Here's what I told him:
We had to stop for "drunk" stop points all the time in Arizona (and we know they weren't just checking for drunks). We got caught up in 2 stop points in Puerto Rico when they were looking for "minor" traffic violations. After 9/11, the Americans let the gov't pass all kinds of things that they would be shocked to find out are legal now (read the bipartisan Patriot Act, it's a little more inclusive than you might have been led to believe and would back up what I suggested and more). The best part about that is that no one in Congress even read it before they passed it and they apparently didn't want you to either. Arizona just passed a law that allows the cops to stop anyone for looking un-American and put him in jail if he doesn't have his "papers" on him (yes I read the law). Schools are allowed to check lockers and backpacks whenever they want. People are allowing themselves to be felt up and x-rayed in airports and go through detectors all the time. We had to go through a permanent checkpoint going from Arizona to California and allow our car to be searched. Cameras are recording your behavior everywhere. Google, Facebook, banks, telephone companies and credit card companies are all snooping into our business (and giving it to the gov't when asked). Even your grocery store is selling you out. Schools are fingerprinting children so they can pay for lunch easier. There are databases in the US you can register your electronics, and software that will help you track it. Friends of ours got boarded & inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard just miles off of Grenada. I didn't suggest anything that isn't already happening in (and out of) the good ol' USA. Almost all of that's being done and being accepted in the name of national security, so whatever...
St. Kitts needs to nip this in the bud before people stop coming, and hopefully the latest step-up by the public will make some of the propositions unnecessary, but I'd certainly rather have what I'm suggesting rather than armed trucks and personnel all over the streets, which is what's been happening since Monday. Yes, I would rather feel safer and allow someone to stop my car and do a quick search than worry about what the ACLU thinks. Privacy is a joke, so why not catch criminals while we're nosing around? Bleh!