Gang Initiative Update
Government highlights drop in gun crime
Gun crimes dropped by nearly 45 per cent in 2018, new figures released yesterday indicate.
According to statistics provided by the Government, there were 27 incidents last year which involved a firearm, were believed to involve a firearm, or where a firearm was recovered.
The corresponding figure for 2017 was 49, and in 2016 it was 82. According to the numbers, there were three firearms-related fatalities and injuries last year — down from nine in 2017 and 14 in 2016.
Serious assaults also showed a drop at 32 last year — down from 37 in 2017 and 46 in 2016. Arrests for violent crime were up to 24 in 2018, from 22 in each of the two previous years.
The figures were included in an update on anti-gang initiatives from Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security.
Mr Caines said that the Government had devised a “thorough, multipronged and disciplined plan” to tackle gang violence in Bermuda.
He added: “I have complete confidence in its success.”
Mr Caines said that he valued the opinions of community activists.
But he added: “They do not have access to the overall ministerial plan, which includes the gang violence strategy, key goals, objectives, deliverables, and the matrix of accountability for the Gang Violence Reduction Team.”
He said that the Government’s plan included community activists and leaders, the Bermuda Police Service and other organisations.
However, he added: “The implementation of this plan does not include responding to every comment made by the public.
“Our focus is as it should be — on the implementation of the solution for the betterment of Bermuda.”
The update also provided details on the work of a number of agencies looking at the gang violence problem in Bermuda, including the Inter-Agency Gang Enforcement Team, the Violence Reduction Unit, and the Co-ordinated Crisis Response Team.
Details of support services provided in schools to at-risk students were also given.
Mr Caines said that plans for Redemption Farm were “still in the development stages”.
He added: “The therapeutic farming initiative will commence in 2019.”
Mr Caines said the programme would provide employment training, vocational skills, and workshops to participants.
He said that Bermuda’s gang problem would not be fixed overnight.
Mr Caines added: “We are steadfast in our belief, that if we are to see an end to violence in Bermuda, our community must rise and play a part in the process.
“All churches, community clubs, fraternities, sororities, the LGBTQ community, and most importantly family — I challenge you all to step up and be part of the solution.
“Whether through mentorship, job training, big brothers and sisters or chatting with the men on the wall, everyone has the opportunity to tackle gun violence and it is our responsibility to do so.
“Through love and the strengthening of family ties, we must address past traumas and break the cycle of family dysfunction to help ensure the trend of antisocial behaviour does not continue with our children.”
He said: “Lastly, our women cannot raise our children alone, we need a significant number of our men to step up and accept the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters.
“Together, we can end gun violence in Bermuda.
“Let’s stop assigning blame and start working together to change the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”
• To read Wayne Caines’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
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