My name Is Hector L. Torres and I too was born and raised in St. Croix, in the still beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands.
I was recently inspired to write after reading Mr. Ronald Davis' article "Comments Given on Lewis' Address at Chamber Luncheon" in which he comments on the state of crime in the Virgin Islands and the effort, or lack thereof, by our Police Department.
I agree with Mr. Davis' comments, especially the high number of unsolved cases, yes, this is unacceptable. The police department must make every effort by applying their investigative training in order to solve crime. We are obviously assuming that our police officers/ detectives have some degree of training in the "latest" investigative procedures.
Assuming that they are, community involvement is still the key to solving crime. You see, unless an officer witnesses a crime being committed, he relies on someone having witnessed the crime or something/someone suspicious at that particular time, day and place. Clues supported by witness contribution give an investigation direction and momentum.
Therein lays the problem. The police department lacks the trust of the public they serve and have sworn to protect. Their distrust is well founded as, in the past; the police have had to deal with corruption from within their ranks, and so-called open and shut cases have not always resulted in convictions at local or federal courts. The public, having witnessed the lack of conviction on those cases that make it to court, are hesitant to collaborate with the police out of fear of retribution by the exonerated criminal element.
Commissioner Lewis and his team are making strides in regaining the public's trust by increasing police presence throughout the territory in their new patrol vehicles, and by keeping the public informed through his articles in the local news paper along with other community outreach programs (stay the course).
Investigations that result in convictions take time since a solid case must be built by the police and the prosecutor. This can only happen through a preponderance of evidence. A case based on circumstantial evidence is too hard prove (Witnesses needed!!!).
This is, by no means, the only thing that ails the V.I.P.D (we all know that). This was what bothered me most when I lived there.
In closing, crime prevention is everyone's responsibility as is crime resolution. You either support your police department in order to win the fight against crime or just stand there and share the guilt for the loss. It is up to you, the public.
Hector L. Torres
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
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