1 weekend, 2 murders
I guess the gloomy weather this past weekend paralleled the tragedies on the island: two murders took place on STT within three days.
The first victim was a cruise ship entertainer residing at Carib Beach Resort. Police say robbers broke into his hotel room, demanded money and shot him in a scuffle.
The second death was even more tragic, the victim was only 14 years old, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head AND a stab to the chest! Who would have such deep hatred towards a 9th grader?
What is happening to our island?! Within days a tourist shot and a child murdered, great start for a new year.
A lady tried to hang herself on Hull Bay Friday.
Is there anywhere people with depression can get help?
Do we have a suicide crisis hotline?
Is there a place for hopeless people to get help?
Too many islanders are turning to crime.
What can be done?
braytina and jerkeverything:
Please do put everything into perspective.
Yes, as in most communities we have options for people in trouble and some very caring people ready to offer services to those who need them. Those who need help only need to look for help but we have the same situation here as on the mainland where people with problems have to seek out help for themselves and then commit to a program designed to help them - which many do not do or else try it and then give up because it's too hard! It's not an easy road even for those who look for and receive help and it demands self-dedication. I really can't imagine that it's much different in your own communities.
"Too many islanders turning to crime?" That's nothing new. In another post on that subject, I mentioned that the majority of crimes committed here in the islands are locals versus locals.
Yes, we do have community outreach programs here and yes, they are effective if the desire of the recipient is dedicated. I believe our services here are no better or worse than most similar services throughout the mainland.
Just my two cents!
I'm now wondering how safe your belongings and most of all how safe your life is in a short term rental. Obviously if you are looking for permanent housing you have to utilize one of these establishments until that happens. I know it isn't good to have a knee jerk reaction to news about crime, coming from NYC I am aware of that, but when you don't really know your surroundings you become quite apprehensive.
"How safe" is impossible to answer objectively because you have no way of knowing the criterion used by anyone who answers your question. If I answer "very safe" you may think I mean you can leave all of your doors and windows open all of the time no matter where you are. If I answer "very dangerous" you may think that I mean you'd be better off visiting Baghdad. Since you've lived in NYC I don't think you have to worry about naive behavior getting you into trouble here. Most people who stay in short term rentals while they look for permanent housing do not become victims of crime -- unless you count government corruption.
Unpleasant things happen everywhere. Many non-islanders and newcomers have the preconceived notion that life in the islands is all sunshine, palm trees, beautiful waters and pina coladas. In reality it's just like anywhere else. There are good people, bad people, young people, old people, happy people, sad people, honest people, dishonest people, etc. The majority of islanders go about their daily lives without mishap but just because the islands look like paradise doesn't mean crime and depression are non-existent. It would be naive to think otherwise.
If you think the crime on ST. Thomas is out of contoll, why dont you visit another island whose local economy is not supported my millions of American dollars.
I don't think Jerkeverything or Braytina were criticizing stt for the crime.
I think they were asking for anyones thoughts on how to solve some of the crime issues.
I believe there are some truly good and awesome people on this island and a few criminals messing things up for everyone.
How can we make this lovely island safer? Anyones thoughts?
Do you have any ideas to help these individuals reach out and ask for help?
There has to be something that can be done !?!
I read something from a very good source in which they stated that the USVI was a very safe place to live and visit before the US government gave complete control to the local government.
When the US was more directly involved the crime rates on STT AND STX was extremely low and violent crime was unheard of. Take for example St. Maarten, very little violent and non violent crimes on both the French and Dutch sides. It has been stated before that if the US pulled out completely, meaning zero US Dollars, the USVI would turn into another Haiti overnight. Thank GOD that won't happen in my lifetime or any lifetime for that matter. I guess the bottom line is that when it is someones time to be victimized it's their time. Just like the harmless and very liked cruise ship entertainer who never hurt anyone. It was just his time to be victimized. His daughter and family are in my prayers. I love you all and stay safe the best you can.
Baltimore - 26 murders in the first 24 days of this year!.....maby that will make you guys feel "safer" there!
Be carefull, see you all soon!
Lola, please don't fuss. Be as careful with your belongings as you would be in NYC. It's all just common sense, for crying out loud.
Beatrice - prior to 1917, St Thomas was under the control of the Danish Government and had been since 1666, given a couple of disastrous incursions by the Brits. After the transfer of sovereignity of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States in 1917, the islands were under the rule of a local government but the Governor of the islands was appointed by the United States. It was just a few years later that the people of the Virgin Islands were afforded the right to vote for Governor.
Your source is talking about statistics from about forty years ago - and wasn't life a whole lot "safer" throughout the world that long ago?
Get into your history, Beatrice! Everything is just a click away now that we have internet access! Cheers.
You're right STTResident. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. But what about the very low crime rates of islands such as St. Maarten. Maybe those islands don't have the insideous CRACK problem that the USVI does. Is it not true that before CRACK was introduced to the USVI it was a much safer place to live and visit? I am aware that this is true with any US city but I'm not interested in any other US city. These CRACK addicts only care about how they are going to get the money needed to buy their next fix. Even if it means having to kill someone to get it. Maybe one solution would be for the USVI drug task force, if they have one, to spend more time and money to weed and seed these problem areas. I know that this program has worked extremely well in my hometown where CRACK COCAINE also was a problem. Any thoughts?
Let me throw this in: What about the near impossibility of obtaining a weapons permit for those of us law-abiding citizens wishing to defend ourselves, families and homes in direct contrast to virtually instant availability of any black market gun. Perhaps enforcement the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for possession of an illegal weapon AND the unimpeded acquisition of thoroughly checked law-abiding citizens to possess defensive weapons would go a long way towards balancing the scales.
You wrote "What about the near impossibility of obtaining a weapons permit for those of us law-abiding citizens wishing to defend ourselves"
Is that the situation in USVI?
yes, unfortunately. They have so many hoops to jump through it boggles the mind how anyone can actually do it. They have no reciprocity with any other state or territory(maybe because the cops there are so much more thorough than the rest of the U.S.). No matter where you have taken the ccw course, you must take theirs. You can only carry certain calibers, few worth actually carrying. Can't have a handgun for home protection, can't have a rifle unless you have a hunting permit, no hunting permits are being issued. You can only own 1 firearm. You must register/license EVERY round you own. They cannot be of a caliber other than the weapon you have licensed. 1 guy decides on all permits. Rub him the wrong way and it's over. You have to PROVE your good reason for wanting a ccw with bank receipts showing regular, large deposits, or have a restraining order of some sort. I would LOVE to hear from someone who has actually been awarded a ccw. I'd also like to hear from some people who were denied. I'm not for sure on any of this, because talking to the cops and reading the rules are different. Much like all gov't bureaus, you get different answers depending on who you talk to. I have spoken to awardees of home protection permits and they have said it takes 3-6 months, and costs at least $500. I took the ccw class in Ohio in one day, applied for the permit, went through a local, regional and FBI background check and still had the permit in my hand 2 weeks after I applied. It cost $200 which was $100 more than i had to spend because i opted for a one day class instead of the $50, 2 day normal class. I'm told there is ONE dealer on STX which pretty much eliminates competition and causes all weapons in or out of STX to go through this fella. In spite of this , the government is actively trying to tighten the restrictions somehow. I don't know how much tighter they could be without eliminating all legally owned firearms. The process of legally obtaining firearms and/or carrying them for personal defense causes the black market demand. It's a direct cause and effect. As such, the criminals know that us taxpayers are mostly unarmed. No wonder crime is above national standards. Don't get me wrong, i'm not a gun nut. I don't even belong to the NRA and only shoot a few times per year, usually target. I prefer .308 and 1,000 yard targets. Not a chance EVER, that .308 is allowed legally on the island, yet, read the paper and see illegal ones being seized and the posessor getting 30 days. There is also the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for illegal posession of a firearm... except it has never been ACTUALLY handed down to anyone. I can't believe that the AG wouldn't crucify a judge that didn't issue a legally mandated manditory minimum sentence. They sure would stateside. The appellate court would chew them up. Anyone who could clarify these statements as true or false from personal experience would do us a favor...
Are you sure about the level of crime on SXM?? We were in Marigot 2 years ago and heard a quite different story.
I don't wish to bash SXM because we enjoyed our stay.
Every travel and tourism piece I've read covers information on crime on each island in the caribbean. St. Maatrten and a few others were considered safe with not much to worry about. These quotes were from the top travel publications on the market,e.g. Frommers.
Jnr -- are these allowed? I am not all that concerned about safety I guess. However, where we live now, I feel comfortable not locking the doors at night, and if we happen to leave the keys in the car - no worries. In fact the keys to the boat are always in plain sight - like virtually every other boat on the lake. There is a reason for the boat thing - private lake - only one in/out ramp and only residents know the combination, and if you break down it is OK with most to use their boat to tow yours - of course ya gotta take the borrowered boat back of course lol.
Moving to a new area - I just want to be prepared. Have lived in places like this as well as the worst part of Oakland CA. Should be able to adjust to anything in between.
Thanks for the help.
I believe that they are treated the same way, but don't take my word for it. Call the cop shop, research the laws and DON'T BRING IT WITH YOU! Make sure it's ok or licensed BEFORE having it. They have laws that confiscate for destruction anything brought to the island illegally...of course, they gotta catch it, but i'm told they eat statesiders at golden grove...
Forgive my ignorance. What is the cop shop? and golden grove?
Well, the cop shop would be the police station. don't know about Golden Grove.
the police station and the correctional facility on STX. Sorry for the shorthand... :-]
Have you ever been to St Maarten? Because it has a larger population than St Thomas, it also has a greater crime problem. Drug traffic is rampant and murder is common.
As in the Virgin islands, tourists usually suffer only property crimes. Most of the violent crimes are committed amongst locals.
I know that I feel much safer on St Thomas or St Croix than I do on St Martin/St Maarten. I don't know where you got the impression that you were safer on St Martin. It just isn't so.
Thanks edd. I guess I should stick to the old saying, believe only half of what I see/read and none of what I hear!
With all due respect for your opinion, most of the crackheads I've encountered in my many years on STT are very lost souls to whom the crack addiction is a nodding panacea. Of course I know full well that there are crack-heads out there in the world for whom crack becomes an excuse to murder but that's not the reality as I've seen it and (again with all due respect) I think your thinking is way off base.
Thus your insinuation that the Virgin Islands was safer before crack cocaine was "introduced" is, to my mind, quite ludicrous.
Your original post on the subject was themed on crime rates rising after the local government had more control and I answered you as best I could on that score.
Insofar as your later post is concerned, we do indeed have a narcotics Task Force here and we are under United States jurisdiction in all matters. The Feds come in when the situation in ANY area is beyond the expertise of the local authorities and that expertise has been called upon with more frequency of late.
I assume that you're neither a resident of St. Maarten or St. Thomas (or STJ or STX or Water Island.)
May I ask, with all due respect. what is your point? Are you planning on moving to the Virgin Islands?