'Crime reduction is not an easy fix'
Cecelia Campbell-Livingston, Gleaner Writer
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Chairman of the Clarendon Crime Prevention Committee William Shagoury is cognisant that bringing the crime figures down in the parish is "not an easy fix".
With the vision of the organisation being to "create an environment in the parish where all citizens can live in 'relatively crime-free' communities", the chairman is pushing to make this a reality.
Shagoury told The Gleaner that the focus this year is to target high-school students.
Among the strategies the committee will be using in the schools are the homework programme and GRAPE (Gang Reduction and Prevention Education), an initiative of the police.
The purpose of GRAPE is to steer vulnerable youths away from crime.
The chairman, who is also custos of Clarendon, said he would like to see more community policing, as he feels there is a greater need for this.
"I want to emphasise more community policing. That's where I want to push. They need to get into the communities and search politely," Shagoury said.
He stressed that the disrespectful manner in which some police personnel operate when requesting a search will not work.
"You have to show respect to get respect," he said.
With unemployment listed as one of the reasons many get into criminal activities, Shagoury said the committee is looking to restart the layer programme where unemployed youths can help themselves, especially single mothers.
"We give them layer chickens and help them through special guidance to operate the business," he said.
Currently, they are now in the process of writing the proposal to access funding for the venture.
The Clarendon Crime Prevention Committee was started in 2004 as a result of a mandate from the Ministry of National Security.
Up to last October, crime in Clarendon has declined by 27 per cent. For the period January 1 to October 4 this year, the parish recorded 68 murders, which is 28 fewer than the 96 recorded for the corresponding period in 2013.