Concerns – Dominica’s Crime Status

The People’s Party of Dominica (PPOD) is compelled to address the serious impact of crime on the well being of Dominica and Dominicans.  Just last week, we were exposed to the news of the grisly murder of Valda Rose Laville in Loubiere.  Valda succumbed due to multiple lacerations made to her body.  According to a study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Dominica yielded a 21.1 per 100,000 population murder rate in 2010.  Dominica topped countries like Ukraine, Aruba, and even Syria and Lebanon in the murder rate per population for that year. 

Besides manslaughter and other violence, all categories of crime in Dominica are on the rise.  We are to ask ourselves, what are the factors lying behind the spate of crime plaguing Dominica? Are these factors complimentary to the “growing” pains process, or are they the result of societal, economic, and political decadence?  Although we can list glaring attributes like high unemployment, a staggering economy, the proliferation of drugs, and the influence of media, it is not a black and white issue.  These attributes are only pieces to the puzzle, the remainder being our morals, ethics, attitudes, and pride as Dominican citizens.

The national security desk of PPOD has identified  unique patterns in regard to crime rates over the past two years in Dominica.  We categorized crime  according to the types which would have the most impact on the economy and on the psyche of the Dominican people.  We chose in this study to ignore sex related crimes, because we are in the process of dedicating an entire research topic to it.  Over the years 2015 and 2016, we found that certain areas of Dominica can be labelled as hotspots for drugs, violence, and serious theft/robbery.   We looked at homicides, serious thefts/robberies, aggravated assaults, drug seizures (other than marijuana), firearm seizures, bodies found, people disappearances, and sudden deaths over the two year period.  Our definition of serious theft/robbery includes theft of property and equipment worth over EC $1000.   It would also include theft of a nature that would detrimentally impact tourism and business.   It would not include theft of a pencil or small items of the like, although we have seen increases of such over the past two years.  We define aggravated assaults as an attempt by one or more persons to inflict serious bodily harm on another/s, usually with a weapon.

According to our findings, there were ten reported and confirmed homicides, the same number for 2015 and 2016.  It is of interest to note that February had the highest number of homicides per month in 2015 (three listed and confirmed).  We can only speculate that it may have to do with out-of-control passions around the carnival time, but not enough data exists to confirm that.  Out of the three February homicides, one incident of manslaughter occurred during Jou’Overt.  In 2016 in correlation with the previous year’s pattern, four homicides happened in the month of January.  This may be indicative of two things: Number one, the consequences of post-seasonal (Christmas in December, Independence in November) depression moods; and number two, the result of individuals exhausting financial and economic resources on the previous year festive (Independence and Christmas) celebrations.  While there were no homicide area-specific cases for 2015, findings indicated that Grandbay had an unusual level of reporting in 2016.  

In 2015, the majority of aggravated assault cases stemmed from Roseau and environs.  A total of 17 cases of aggravated assault were reported island wide, with over 70 percent of them involving the use of firearms.  Over 80 percent of all such cases occurred in the southern half of Dominica.  There were 25 cases of aggravated assault mentioned to the police in 2016, a 47 percent increase over the previous year.  An even staggering increase of plus-90 percent of all such cases happened in the southern part of the island for that year.    Whereas in 2016, the majority of cases occurred in the earlier part of the year, in 2015 they were randomly spread. 

There were 12 cases of serious theft/robbery brought to the police in 2015.  Two cases involved the armed robbery of visitors at the Syndicate Tourism centre, and two cases involved the robbery of a gas station in Castle Comfort.  There were also two cases of Chinese businesses being robbed at Fond Cole.   According to our analysis, robbery of business places in Dominica and on tourists is of a serial nature.  Therefore, the police would be well advised to take the occurrence of first time incidences seriously, in order to prevent repeats.  There was an 8% drop in reported serious theft/robbery incidences in 2016.  However, the dollar value of assets stolen more than tripled, and the use of firearms in procuring stolen items increased over 100 percent.  While in 2015 the majority of theft/robberies were disbursed almost equally across the island, the majority of thefts in 2016 happened in the southern half of Dominica.  Last year (2016)  had an interesting dimension, as three non-Dominican nationals (Chinese) were involved in the theft of local bank funds.  These three acquired monies using non-conventional Dominican techniques.  In our opinion, this should be a wake up call to train law enforcement persons in methods that detect sophisticated, fraudulent activities.  

In 2015, there were 9 notable seizures of cocaine by law enforcement.  Ninety five percent of the cocaine seizures happened within the parish of St. George.  Canefield received particular attention with two separate drug seizure operations, at different times of the year. There was an 11 percent increase in cocaine busts in 2016, with arrests being more island wide than the prior year.  However, while more weapons were confiscated from 2016 drug stings, much more cocaine was seized in 2015.  According to research conducted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), particular types of businesses and locations attract drug dealers, even though the business owners have nothing to do with the illicit trade.  The research indicated that drug couriers are 90% more likely to transport drugs in vehicles other than their own, thus relying heavily on rented motor vehicles.  The study also indicated higher than usual drug related activity around areas like air and seaports, in relation to areas like industrial sites and places of entertainment.

The police conducted three successful operation  in 2015 seizing Illegal firearm and ammunition.  The year 2015 pales in comparison to 2016.  Eight police operations yielded far more weapons seized than in 2015, with the most notable happening at the end of September.  On September 30th 2016, a police sting at Woodbridge bay uncovered a barrel full of ammunition and firearms.  What is disturbing about this bust is the assortment of weapons, their calibre, and what initiated the very seizure itself.  The police received information in advance from US Customs about the barrel which was being shipped.  They could therefore act accordingly.  However, what if such information was not available, would the weapons have been allowed to proliferate on the streets of Dominica?  Or worse yet, what if a group exists within Dominica with the intention to destabilize national security and supposing that they had obtained the weapons?  Because of this, we are in favour of stricter measures to check all international-originating packages that arrive on the ports of Dominica.  However, the procedures must not sacrifice the expediency process, if it can be helped, in getting the shipment to the consignee. 

The most bizarre findings of our research revealed that 12 bodies were found, either partially decomposed or recently dead for the 2016 year.  This represents an increase of 300 percent over the previous year.  Even more mind baffling is the fact that over 40 percent of the bodies were found between the months of October and December.  In 2016, the number of persons who disappeared without explanation quadrupled over the statistics for 2015.  In half of the cases of those who disappeared, their bodies were later discovered.  The year 2016 also dwarfs the previous year in sudden deaths by 500 percent.  There is a recorded 6 cases where individuals just collapsed and died.  Over 67 percent occurred in the last quarter of the year.

From our findings, we have pin-pointed specific villages and urban areas  for the requirement of focused attention by law enforcement and social/community welfare organizations.  For example, the village of Loubiere was a hotbed of activity in 2016 when it came to aggravated assaults.  In that instance, we would recommend the setting up of a proper police sub station and increased patrols, both visible and covert.   A good police community program in Loubiere will provide more information on the reasons for the upsurge in violence plaguing that area.  Another “hot” area is Grandbay.  The current police community initiative would have been more effective had it been launched from there, than in Calibishie.   

In order to curtail the rising incidents of thefts and robberies, we see the increasing dependence on CCTV systems as necessary.  We advise high-at-risk businesses (gas stations for example) to install security alarm systems that immediately alert the police and/or private security should a break-in occur.  Of course, this would depend on how quickly and effective a response could be meted by the appropriate security body.  Dominica has reached a point of no return in terms of social development.  Because of this, law enforcement needs to evolve to match the types of crimes we are seeing.  We recommend for an effective system of police informants and under cover police.  St. Lucia has an enviable under cover police system where most of the operatives are non-St. Lucian police. 

The Commonwealth of Dominica Criminal Investigative Department (CID), needs to be more specialized in their functions.  For  example, a separate public-accessible phone number and police-authorized database needs to be set up for that section dealing with homicides and/or violent crime, as opposed to the section dealing with vice/sex crimes.  These sections need to be more distinct in and of themselves, to the point where they are seen as semi-autonomous departments within the police force.  Up-to-date training in forensic techniques and the investment in decent forensic equipment will greatly enhance the functions of the CID.

We are not to the point yet of a complete social breakdown and rampant crime sprees as countries like Honduras and El Salvador have recently experienced.  However if we don’t act now, we will find ourselves continuing down that road of social and moral decimation which will permanently place us in the global top tenth percentile  for crime-ridden countries.  It is up to us now to make that change.

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  1. Vic Fermat
    August 4, 2018

    There is a problem to be solved and the first thing people can is “leave it to God”. Do People ever use their brains to think for themselves?

  2. analy thomas
    January 16, 2017

    Nothing will turn Dominica but the hands of God! Nothing will turn the world but the hand of God! We have become proud, selfish and arrogant. We have forgotten our first love. We are now wondering in the dessert of sin and strife! We may fall lifeless one by one and we will never regard God just like Pharaoh did with Moses and the 10 plagues.
    I know that God will pull his faithful people out just as he did with Noah, Lot, Samson, David, S,M and A from the furnace, The Israelite s from Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den………. he will deliver his people and will prove it again at the sound of the trumpet when his beloved will be caught up in the air!
    When will that day be? Will you be counted out of that great tribulation? Will your flesh be able to withstand the test for 7 long years? Why not be counted!
    Why not turn to Christ now! Don’t try to fix yourself for he is good at fixing people. He said come as you are! Nothing is too great for him. take a step toward him…….

    • analy thomas
      January 16, 2017

      continuation: He said though your sins may be as red as scarlet he will make them as white as snow! He has all power to purify you. He has a love which no one can share! Try him and see for yourself! He has never failed anyone because he is the God of possibilities. Don’t let guild hold you back! God has made provision for you at the cross. Call me crazy and say you hate me to justify the truth but if you never get the chance to repent and trust him you may never enjoy eternity.
      He has promised many mansions in his father’s house. are we going to give up a 2hr life in God’s time for and eternal one? Come on….. Don’t be that foolish!
      If you don’t take my word for it just try him truthfully and see. As long as you are genuine he will show you on his terms in his way.
      Only if you knew how God loves you! His spirit grieves when you are in sin because he wants you to be saved. It is not just going to church but a relationship with him.
      May his name be praised!

  3. concern
    January 16, 2017

    Toooooo much pointing the finder and cover-up helds nothing

  4. concern
    January 16, 2017

    This a result of economical and social issues. Dont make a political battle but address it from all areas. What belongs to Cesar render onto Cesar

    • Ideal
      January 16, 2017

      “This a result of economical and social issues”, you are correct but what are our politicians doing to fix this. The government is responsible for what’s happening on our island, they make the laws and they and we the people must make sure we are obey and live by these laws.

  5. Malatete
    January 16, 2017

    If we accept the figure for 2016, as quoted by the Commissioner of Police; 10 murders plus 6 disappearances, which he also considers homicides we arrive at a total of 16 homicides for the year. With, a population of 72,000 this gives a homicide rate for Dominica for last year of a record 22.8, way in excess of of the annual rate for the U.SA., which typically runs at about 5.6/annum. This is worrying and more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of this upward trend.

  6. TripleD
    January 16, 2017

    But wait nuh, did Carbon take the stats from this story above? To me I read this same story above in another online newspaper before the commissioner released the police crime data.

    Wey papa, we have another group putting out statistics before the police do. Mr. Carbon get on your game and keep the public up to date and informed in a transparent manner.

  7. anonymous2
    January 16, 2017

    What is happening is the total degradation of society on this island. While the British were here there was a status to be maintained, however, upon their departure, the Dominican society began a downward slide. There is no law enforcement to speak of. It is only a matter of going through the motions and going nowhere. Criminals are not justly prosecuted and receiving just sentences. StockFarm is a revolving door. The youth have no future as there are not enough jobs and there are too many lazy youth who think that they are just ‘entitled’ to other people’s property and lives. A life has no value. Many foreigners have left because the place has only become more unsafe for them. Trusting anyone much on DA has become a serious problem. There is no sense of community which existed even 20 years ago. Very few want to help their neighbors. They only want to take from their neighbor in the dark of the night. DA is now a sorry state.

  8. January 15, 2017

    I do agree with the majority of Your comments. However we already have a complete break down of our society. We can bring DA back if we follow the village concept.

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