16 x 6 = 96
aneas~ You asked a serious question, so let me back up a bit. No, criminals are not allowed to carry weapons openly. But many of them are indeed armed, and not just with pistols. They have shotguns, and "assault" rifles as well. I think, and I may be wrong, that the reason the murder rate here is so high may be cultural. If someone kills your relative, then it is the family honor that the killing must be avenged so the family goes out and shoots the killer. Then the killer's family has to have revenge....see how it goes? The conviction rate for murder is appallingly poor so families feel the only way to get justice is to take care of it themselves.
So do we have to worry about the high murder rate and violent crime here? Not really. Just think of the Virgin Islands as the most beautiful, wonderful, fanciest slum you can imagine. Mixed in with our gorgeous beaches, sunshine, warmth, multi-million dollar houses, yachts, friendly neighborliness, sharing and caring people is an underlying attitude of poverty, hopelessness, carelessness, entitlement, broken families, corrupt legislators, corrupt businessmen just like in any slum in America. There is a huge underlying resentment of the "rich white" folks who come here and "take all the good jobs" There is no recognition that it is the poor work ethic and pathetic education that keeps them from being hired. You won't often see this attitude if you stay in the resorts or the wealthy sections, but it is there.
Gun laws here a really strict. Other threads have dealt with that in great detail. You can have a weapon for defense of your home, but unless you are a business owner and can "demonstrate a need," you are out of luck if you want to concealed carry.
You overstate a number of things antiqueone, and cast aspersion on the majority of non-whites who are not "impoverished, hopeless, careless, corrupt, and living in slum-like conditions" -as you describe. Many simply do not aspire to the ambition-driven, work-a-holic, yacht-infested lifestyle of their snowbird neighbors. They live happy fulfiiling lives ...just not by your stateside definition. This is not to say there aren't problems, but they are hardly that different than those faced "up north" in the debt-ridden, over-entitled suburbs of white-land. Yes there is resentment, but in my experience here, it is not primarily directed at whites, but rather, at other minorities "coming in to take our jobs." That complaint is not exclusive to the islands. It has been used by unions, and just about every other ignorant majority attempting to justify the oppression of immigrants.
TIME magazine had an interesting report this week (or was it last?) about crime continuing to go down in the States, even during the recession. Why? A number of factors, including: better policing, tougher sentencing, and oddly enough, crimminals realizing that gun crimes bring unwanted attention to their neighborhoods and thus, their "commercial enterprise." If the VI police department weren't so inept, the crime/murder rate would go down.
The sort version.
It all flows down hill.....
Crooked or inept politicians = same in the bureaucrats.....
Crooked or inept bureaucrats = crooked or inept worker bees....
Voters who keep returning the same crooked or inept politicians.....
This is NOT to disparage the ave citizen who is just trying to get by. I have met a lot of very good people trying their darnedest to make things a little bit better.
As to trashing the cops. You try being a cop and find the perp you just arrested is back on the street before you finish your paperwork and see just how well your give-a-sh**t quotient holds up. Worse yet now you and your family are at risk because the legal system is so frakked up. See above.
Stcroix. I meant no disparagement of the many, many people here who are the people of my "friendly neighborliness, sharing and caring people" statement. The point is that on this tiny island, mixed in with all the good folks is that underlying rot I mentioned. I stand by my statement. If you don't believe the resentment is ingrained, just look at the joke of a "constitution" the governor was forced to send on to Obama. It wasn't even in good English, for crying out loud.
Having a number of friends on the police force, I have to agree with Michaelds9--I also should point out that there are far too few cops on the beat. They are spread far too thinly to be of any significant use (except to tell us to leave cookies!)