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Team StreetSafe is easing tensions

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Team StreetSafe is infiltrating Bermuda's most volatile gangs and saving lives on a daily basis, according to Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security.

Mr Baron's comments came after the murder of cricketer Fiqre Crockwell, who was shot dead in the early hours of Monday morning on Woodlands Road, Pembroke.

Although police said Mr Crockwell had no links with any of the island's gangs, Mr Baron revealed StreetSafe workers had been deployed into East End communities to provide counselling support to families and defuse rising tensions.

Lifting the lid on the charity's extensive and successful work for the first time, Mr Baron said Team StreetSafe was helping to rebuild communities affected by gang and gun crime.

He told The Royal Gazette that StreetSafe staff had built up a “fantastic web of community contacts” that had helped to quell tensions after murders and shootings.

“The community response in the form of the StreetSafe package has been phenomenal,” he said. “They have built up 26 clients, who are proven risk individuals and members of gangs, 30 additional family members and a further 700 contacts in the community.

“Our StreetSafe people have penetrated some of the most organised and volatile gangs.

“When a shooting takes place they can go into an area, find out what has happened, what retaliation is being contemplated and calm the situation down.

“StreetSafe is also providing a counselling service to families who have lost loved ones, and some of these counsellors are people who have suffered loss themselves in similar circumstances. They have made a tremendous impact and are saving lives on a day-to-day basis. We would be working in a vacuum if we did not have that social response strategy.”

Mr Baron said the island's gang structure and membership had changed significantly in the past five years. He also revealed that while new gangs or crews had surfaced in different areas, the number of gangs had reduced since the height of gun violence in 2010/11.

“What we are seeing now is a flare up with certain crews and new tensions in certain areas, but the important piece here is that the community response has been unprecedented,” Mr Baron said. “There have been some emerging gangs, for example, Southside 110 in Southampton and Two Way Deepdale in Pembroke, while the old 42 gang has become a legacy group now.

“There are completely different players involved in the gangs than five years ago because some have died, some have been jailed and others have left Bermuda.

“The crews are also moving about more now, too, there is no real home address for gang violence any more.

“We are constantly reassessing where they are and what they are doing. We understand their business models and how they operate.

“Those involved in Bermuda's gangs are forensically aware and their actions are well thought out. They understand the CCTV network and a great deal of preparation goes on before an incident in everything from the way they dress, the route they take and the weapons they use.

“It gives me no comfort to say they are more rational than we thought. It would be easier to say they were animals, but that is not the case.”

The Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Jeffrey Baron, JP, speaks with constable Kimberley Spring and Public and Media Relations officer Robin Simmons (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
The Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Jeffrey Baron, JP (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 23, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 23, 2016 at 11:00 pm)

Team StreetSafe is easing tensions

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