CRIME STOPPERS DOMINICA (CSD) provides a confidential crime reporting service that gives everyone the opportunity to report crime, including cases of looting by calling 1800 8477 (TIPS) or by submitting a tip online at crimestoppersdominica.org.

CSD has launched an educational series entitled “Let’s Talk About It” to create greater awareness about different types of crime, and to help the public to be better able to identify and help reduce or prevent potential criminal acts.

In this edition of “Let’s Talk About It”, the topic is “looting”.

As heinous an act as it is, looting is not uncommon in several countries as we have seen within the region during the 2017 hurricane season after the devastations caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

LOOTING, (also referred to as plundering or pillaging) is described as the indiscriminate taking of goods/items by force during warfare, civil warfare or disasters. While some looters may take basic necessities and food items, others will break and enter into premises and take far more valuable items such as office equipment, household appliances, furniture and fine jewelry. Whether it is an item of food or a household appliance, looting is a form of theft and is illegal.

Looting: Why is it such a problem?
There are several problems associated with looting:

• Oftentimes, in an attempt to plunder merchandise, looters vandalize and tear down property left intact following a disaster. These criminal actions hinder business operations both short-term and in the long-term.

• Insurance companies DO NOT compensate business owners for merchandise lost as a result of looting and the ensuing debt causes severe financial distress to businesses.

• The chain reaction to looting is far-reaching. Another noticeable consequence is loss of employment, and in some cases may be as a result of bankruptcy caused by extensive damage and loss borne through looting. Such ill-timed business closures, in turn, places considerable distress on families, communities, the business sector to include lending institutions and the overall economy.

WHY REPORT IT?
While many among us may be reluctant to report criminal behavior, crime affects everyone – the individuals involved, your family, community and the state. The consequences of turning a blind eye to criminal behavior are dire and this allows for the perpetuation of that behavior.

Speaking up against acts of looting is the first step in achieving a safer society. Reporting simply means that an organization is informed and can intervene to address the situation. If you have information about cases of looting that is being planned or has happened, it is critical to SPEAK UP.

HOW DOES CRIME STOPPERS DOMINICA WORK?
Remember Crime Stoppers Dominica is NOT the police.

If you have information on any type of CRIMINAL ACTIVITY:
• Call toll free 1-800-TIPS [8477] and give the operator the information or go online at crimestoppersdominica.org and click the “Submit Tip” button.

• The call centre is located outside of Dominica and agents are available 24/7 to take reports. The call is confidential and there is no caller ID. The agents are only interested in the information you give, so you will not be asked to say your name. Your information will be dealt with sensitively, and then put into a report. The information is then transmitted to the Police who proceeds to take the necessary action. It is that simple.