Bad PR for St. Croi...
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Bad PR for St. Croix

Posts: 74
Trusted Member
Topic starter

It makes me so sad and angry to see news like this about the 3 recent robberies. St. Croix is such a beautiful place, and just a few bad people are ruining it! What can be done?

Posted : November 21, 2006 10:05 pm
Posts: 163
Estimable Member

Gee, I wonder how many armed robberies occurred this past week in Philadelphia? I guess we had all better be safe and avoid Philly, eh?

Posted : November 21, 2006 10:14 pm
Posts: 126
Estimable Member

now is sarcasm the way to go with this? No offense, but people pay good money to "visit" the islands ...I don't remember the last time I wanted to spend my earning for a nice vacation to go to Philadelphia. I think it is important to keep crime in check whenever possible to keep vacationers generating money for the islands and making it better to make people feel safe. There is crime everywhere, but consider the population of big cities compared to small islands?

Posted : November 21, 2006 10:51 pm
Posts: 436
Reputable Member

does not make any sense. Compare the populations. Do the percentiles. Oh, and in Philadelphia you might get a police response.

Doesn't stop me from travelling, but I don't compare the islands to Los Angeles.

Posted : November 21, 2006 10:54 pm
Posts: 163
Estimable Member

My point was simply that crime is everywhere. The link was to a Philadelphia online newspaper. The message was "don't go to St. Croix--you'll be robbed at gunpoint," an unfair conclusion drawn on one unlucky couple's experience. Crime IS everywhere, it's up to us as individuals to use common sense to avoid it when possible, and to minimize danger when confronted with it. I am now retired, but spent 30 years in the law enforcement arena as a LE officer, prosecutor, and ultimately trial court judge (several years of which were in Chicago--about as nasty as it gets). The premise of the article that STX was unsafe overlooked the obvious, and that was the point I was trying to make with my obviously weak attempt at sarcasm.

Posted : November 21, 2006 11:12 pm
Posts: 15
Active Member

Don't feel bad, I grew up in phila and It is horrible there now. I live in new jersey now not to far from camden the murder capitol of the USA. I am moving to STX in a couple of weeks and glad to be leaving.

Posted : November 22, 2006 9:03 am
Posts: 74
Trusted Member
Topic starter

Because there is crime "everywhere", armed robberies and murders are somehow acceptable? What if the link had been to a small town newspaper in Vermont? Would that have been different?

I'm not sad for the tourists, I'm sad for St. Croix--for the people who live there. This "crime-ridden" stereotype may not be totally accurate; but perception is reality and it seems to be the last thing the island needs economically. My question was "What can be done?" Any suggestions? Webcams? Private security? A demand for increased patrolling? A police substation in more remote areas? I read an editorial a while back about forming a Citizen's Police Commission...Is it really so impossible to affect positive change because of the way "things are done"?

I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm thinking that a group of concerned people putting their minds together could possibly make a difference. If this isn't the "forum" for that, please accept my sincere apologies and we can discontinue this thread!

Posted : November 22, 2006 11:24 am
Posts: 87
Trusted Member

I don't get your general message? crime is bad in Philly?. A few thousand of us live here all year round, and 50 of my friends and neighbors have been robbed and had there cars stolen from these robberies in the last 2 weeks.
I was there the night this couple was robbed, or should I say we were all robbed , and there has been at least 7 robberies in the last 2 weeks from these thugs , a man was shoot and is paralyzed from the waist down. I don't find the sarcasm or humor in any of it. I live here and nothing is being done. I spent over an hour and a half , the next day "giving my statement" ,where the detective in charge finished the interview with" I don't go out to bars in ST Croix anymore, I don't like to have to worry and constantly look behind my back" , what a total waste of time. The police and the politicians are doing NOTHING to stop these crimes . this is a small island and everyone knows everyone! In my opinion the more BAD press the better till the politician's and the police feel enough pressure from the press to put a stop to the never ending crime wave I have seen this year .

Posted : November 22, 2006 11:25 am
(@Petition the new governor)
Posts: 0
New Member

Flounder speaks the truth. Before I lived in the USVI I came from a city of over 300,000 people. I "knew" about 6 or 8 people who had ever been robbed or suffered violent crime. When I was on St Croix I "knew" dozens of people who had recently been the victim of violent crime.

On an island of 40,000+ people crime is way out of line with the population numbers. Way more than a city in the states with 40,000+ people.

This has been discussed before, and the "reasons" stated. It is time we demand that the police and government officials do their duty.

Posted : November 22, 2006 2:22 pm
Posts: 410
Reputable Member

Yes, two cents. I happened to be in the area when that was occurring. I think that part of the solution is people realizing that crime does happen and responding to it accordingly. When the roberies started in Gallow's Bay, there is a telephone tree, and all stores went into lock down, others tracked the whacky kids, etc.

I am not advocacting for vigilanteism, but for people to play an active role in stopping the few that disrupt things. This has been very helpful in US stateside cities, and a 'no tolerance' for crime attitude I do believe will cause the few folks to think again.

Just a few ideas about this. I don't like to sit back and say 'isn't this terrible' without getting involved in solutions.

Hope you all are well,


Posted : November 22, 2006 6:39 pm
Posts: 83
Trusted Member

I agree with Daniel and Flounder. I've been here just over a year now. I was out at the Full Moon Beach Bar the night that Bogies got hit and left it a half an hour before. There but for the grace of God go I. I must admit I am not accustomed to living in a place where such things are common occurences. I am not very urban. I can understand the lack of respone for the first robbery at Sprat Net- it was the first, no pattern- but the second armed robbery by the same guys escalated into a patron being pistol whipped at Full Moon. There should've been a police patrol given what had just happened at Sprat Net. The last straw was the third robbery at Bogies and the armed robbers escalated to shooting their guns. What has to happen next? Does someone have to loose their life for there to be police patrols? In addition to patrols why not CCTV, at least the robbers would be on tape at some point- who knows, maybe even without the t-shirts over their faces.

Our leaders are supposedly trying to encourage more tourism to our island which would benefit us all. The tourists are not going to come if they don't feel that they are safe. Crime will always be with us as long as we are organized into human societies but we can manage it. We can manage it by having our police patrol and be visible at staggered intervals on a regular basis; by using technology such as CCTV; and by making investigation and punishment of such crimes a top priority. No way should this have been allowed to happen three times in two weeks in the same area. When the robbers are using guns it is not just a minor event. As a victim you don't know what these guys are going to do- anything could happen in such a situation- you would fear for your life. That's why armed robbery is treated more seriously in our criminal justice system. The escalation is troubling to me and it should be to our leaders as well.

We need more bad press not less to wake up our elected officials and public servants. I encourage newcomers to register to vote and make your voices heard and to agitate for a better St Croix. Write letters to the editor at the Avis. Call or write your Senator. We should all be outraged together as a community, blacks, whites, newbies, continentals, Crucians, down-islanders, Puerto Ricans and Dominicanos. There but for the grace of God go I.

Posted : November 22, 2006 10:58 pm
Posts: 862
Prominent Member

While I in no way condone the crime on St Croix, if you want to compare "like with like" you can't just look at population numbers. St Croix and other Caribbean islands may have small populations equal to that of rural towns in America, but the socioeconomic status of the islands is more similar to inner city areas. The public schools barely educate, the government is corrupt and a large percentage of the population live below the poverty level. Average GDP USVI = $14,500; GDP USA = $44,500. BIG difference.

Check out the CIA World Factbook and look at the statistics.

Sorry to offend people who think the Caribbean is simply a collection of beautiful beaches and great rum with the little umbrella. Yes, there is that side, but on the other side is the much harsher reality fraught with lots and lots of problems with deep historical--sociological and economical--roots. If anyone is interested, read Jamaica Kincaid's novella A Small Place. She really puts a lot of the issues the Caribbean has to deal with in a unique perspective.

Posted : November 23, 2006 1:23 am
Posts: 532
Honorable Member

you are absolutely right - it is very frustrating to deal with the ...sshhhh, don't say anything about bad things on stX...mentality. The island is poor, crime is high, the government is corrupt, ill health and social issues abound.
That said, it is a beautiful island and is definitely worthy of people's best efforts.

Posted : November 23, 2006 3:26 am
Posts: 8
Active Member

Here we go again....blame someones surroundings for their actions....I grew up poor and in the inner city.....I do NOT commit crimes.
People choose to do so......lets stop blaming society for criminal behavior.
If your excuse for the criminals had any validity, everyone coming from those circumstances would be a criminal.

Posted : November 23, 2006 4:12 pm
Posts: 862
Prominent Member

I'm not making a excuses for criminals. I am simply suggesting that adverse socioeconomic conditions encourage criminal behavior more so than good socioeconomic conditions. Usually if the parents went to college, then their children are more likely to go too. If a government/ a family doesn't encourage their children to go to school then more than likely those children won't go to school. Not everyone has a 100% go-getter drive to get through school, go to college etc...but if that behavior is not encouraged by society then the kid with only a little hint of ambition is probably not going to get the prodding necessary for him to put the work into school that he needs. (I believe that education is one of the biggest factors in decreasing criminal activity).

And if that prodding doesn't come from the parents (perhaps a single mother, 4 other kids, works 14 hours a day , never went to school herself... helping with homework/the importance of school may not even be on her radar...), it needs to come from the school. Good luck with that in the public schools here. I tutor people age 18 upwards towards getting their GED's and eventually to take the SAT. Some dropped out as early as seventh grade. Why? They were encouraged to leave by the administration (some for simple reasons like disruptiveness). Probably the disruptive kids held back the well-behaved kids. In that case, they should be separated and taught differently--different tactics, techniques. That's what happens on the mainland, right? More spec. ed teachers, after school programs, field trips, sports programs, arts programs, even vocational training. ANYTHING to keep them possibly stimulated and in school and off the street. Oh are we going to pay for that? Sorry, we sent back over $50 dollars per kid of FREE federal funding to the US Government. Just couldn't figure out how to spend it. Oops. At least we still have our 2006 Escalades. (Most schools send back an average of $1.50 per student).

And so we are left with a 14 year old on the corner. Some people can fight their way out of that situation and live happy, non-criminal lives. Others don't/can't. Perhaps that depends on someone's personality. The in-the-moment decision to pull the trigger ultimately rests on that person but you must consider the background that put him in a position to have his hand on a trigger. In my opinion, both count and both need to be treated.

Posted : November 23, 2006 5:26 pm
Posts: 372
Reputable Member

At first, I thought it was sad Stxdreamer, who has 30 years of law enforcement, has left jaded and without compassion so as to reduce an account of armed robbery to flippant sarcasm. Then he said that such law enforcement experience has lead him to believe that one can only "use common sense to avoid it when possible, and to minimize danger when confronted with it". That is sad... and hopeless.

Posted : November 23, 2006 9:30 pm
Posts: 37
Eminent Member

According to the St. Croix One Source there have been 17 murders in STX up until November 17, 2006. There is a population of 60,000 here. Ok if you figure out the murder/100,000 population ratio, it would be 28 murders for 100,000 population.

Here are a few murder statistics to put this in perspective a little bit. These numbers are from 2004 but the best I could find.

City Murders per 100,000 population
National Avg. 5.5
Tulsa, OK 12.3
New York City 7
Los Angeles 13.4
Seattle 4.2
Washington DC 35.8
Houston, TX 13.3
Tucson, AZ 10.5
Philadelphia, PA 22
Cleveland, OH 16,9
Las Vegas, NV 10.6
Salt Lake City, UT 8.2
Denver, CO 15.4
Camden, NJ 60.8 (I believe this is the worst)
Detroit, MI 42,1
Honolulu, HI 2.9
St. Croix (2006) 28 .3 (as of November 17th)

Washington DC, Camden, NJ, and Detroit, MI has us beat on the murder statistics....but is that really saying much? Would anyone on this board ever dream and make plans of moving to one of those places? You might live in the subburbs and drive there to work or something...but would moving there be your dream place to end up. I think I can hear a resounding NO way off in the distance. Dream of inner city living....yeah baby, that's a dream come true.

Hmmmmm, maybe we should've considered Hawaii when we wanted to make island living a reality. I've heard it's expensive there...but if you factor sending two kids to private school to the tune of about 900 to 1,000 bucks a month each on might be a deal. With a murder rate of 2.9...I don't think I'd be worried of sending my kids to public school there.

I've been here for about five months and have had two crimes against property. Had two tires slashed on my car in parking lot at my residence (a fairly upscale condominium resort) and one change bowl removed from inside of car.

I've met many people here. People like the ones on this board. People having a dream to make a Caribbean Island their home. Guess what? The overwhelming majority are trying to get back out at their first opportunity. And guess what else, in the process they've sunk tons of money getting themselves, their possessions, their families, etc. in and out of here, but from the looks of it...the ones that get out are lucky to get out with their physical person intact.

Things that I've found since I've been here.

1. Cops don't care or respond.
2. 911 is a joke.
3. Poverty
4. Unfit public school system.
5. Tons of projects. I wonder why. Cost of living for normal housing is astronomical and good jobs are hard to come by. Plus just the general lack of education.
6. Interviewed many people who don't read/write or have NEVER gone to school.
7. Poor infrastructure. Poor roads, buldings, electric, cable, phone, etc.
8. No place for the homeless/mentally ill to go. Or at least not that I've seen, they just hang out on the streets.
9. Poor, poor, poor healthcare services, dont' come if you're sick, and if you do come get air ambulance insurance. If you don't it could cost you 15 to 20 grand to get outta here for treatment.
10. This list could go on and on.....but I'll spare everyone.

All in all I've been jaded. Beautiful scenery, beautiful beaches, beautiful that enough. No. I think that the US needs to make the VI a state and clean things up. It's not going to happen because a few disgruntled transplants think it should be that way, and trying to make any changes of consequence as a statesider gets you exactly nowhere. Wow, can anyone say vigilantism? Hmm...probably the only solution an individual has...but do I want to do that? No, why? there are places to be that aren't like this.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed time spent here. It's just out of control. The VI needs some good leadership and tons of money spent on the actual islands to make them a better place to be...not just lining the politician's and their cronies pockets.

Advice: Stay away until things get cleaned up here. Consider Hawaii.

Oh, and by the way, in response to Jane's must compare "like with like". If I were to do that, it would make STX look WAY worse than pitting it up against the big cities I've mentioned above in the statistics. It would do STX no favors to compare "like with like".

Posted : November 24, 2006 7:10 am
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Melissa: One of the things that stateside folks do not factor into living in the VI is the way poverty touches you. Most middle class folks in Big America never shop at a store that targets lower-income people. They are accustomed to neighborhoods that are homogeneous. When people an this board try to explain that "it is just different" here, we are told that we are being negative.

I have said that the majority of people moving here stay less than a year. That is why some of us say to plan to rent for 6 months before jumping in and buying a house. Don't burn your bridges back home. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. Settling in is a process of determining how you fit into the scheme of things.

The problems here are very complex. Many who choose to stay do not stick their heads in the sand, but realize that change is going to come very slowly. Although this is an American territory, it is a Caribbean island. The issues in the Caribbean are very different from those in American cities.

The Feds are not going to come down and "fix" things.

Posted : November 24, 2006 11:04 am
Posts: 23
Eminent Member

MelissaS....I could not have said it all better. It is so frustrating to read the posts of many on this board that refuse to see what is going on and has been going on since the 70's. We will never get problems solved if we keep denying they exist. It is very unfair to represent the island to possible newcombers without revealing ALL our dirty laundry. Then if they choose to come maybe they will be of the character that can survive here and make positive changes rather than simply come down, fail, complain, go back to the states, complain and denegrate the island to others and perpetrate an already existing perception of newcombers to locals as "not here for the long haul". Bravo for telling it like it is.

Posted : November 24, 2006 1:41 pm
(@Autumn M.)
Posts: 0
New Member

Yes, the crime rate is bad when you put it into perspective. I still plan on moving to St. Croix sometime in the future.

"Most middle class folks in Big America never shop at a store that targets lower-income people. They are accustomed to neighborhoods that are homogeneous."

This is such a true statement. I live in San Diego in a neighborhood that used to be quite nice. Now it is full of graffiti and people that sell drugs a block away. There have been murders down the street from me, helicopters fly over constantly, and when we went on the Megans Law website, I discovered too many rapists & molesters living within a 2 block radius of me. The people who live in communities such as Del Mar & La Jolla have never stepped foot in my area and would probably never do so. They don't realize that true poverty and crime exists in their lovely San Diego. We have so many crimes, but rarely is it broadcasted because we are "America's Finest City."

I know that STX or any island for that matter is note a bed of roses and yes there is alot of work that needs to be done and alot of apathy from those in charge. Hopefully, it will not get to be like Jamaica. The youth need direction from a young age. Hopefully when I do finally move down there, I plan to try and volunteer at some of the schools or at some other youth related sites, to let these kids know that there is a future and that they can make a positive difference in the world. The ones committing the crimes are mainly youth who feel that the future is bleak.

Anyways, sorry for the long post.


Posted : November 24, 2006 1:44 pm
Posts: 37
Eminent Member


I understand what you're saying. I too lived in San Diego at one time....back in the late 70's. San Diego was Shangri La back then. I was one the La Jolla kids. Ok, not right IN La Jolla but we did live in University City which was right on the outskirts of La Jolla and basically on the rim of Rose Canyon. I loved it there. I've never been back to San Diego since moving away but do have very fond memories. I actually just found my best friend from there after half-heartedly looking for her for 20 or so years. Found out she made a name for herself in LA and is currently the TV host for the show the "Rustam Report". Ever heard of Denise Ames?

Anyway back to my point. Yes, San Diego may have deteriorated in some places. And yes, people from the nicer areas may choose not to go to the deteriorated areas but here on STX....there is no choice really. If you ever leave your house to go buy groceries or pick up supplies at the hardware store you have to go in deteriorated areas because that's what it is. You may live in one of the million dollar plus houses out on the east end or over on the north shore but unless you plan on being a recluse and have other people doing your shopping for can't stay away from it......("It" being crime, poverty, and overall deterioration). At least in San Diego and other places, you can actually get in your car and go another direction. You don't HAVE to enter those areas if you don't want to. Here, if you want to have to.

Posted : November 24, 2006 5:17 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

As a previous resident of STX and in the process of returning...we are building our house on the West End now, it is always sad to hear of a few desperate folks who don't consider the ripple of their actions. I know the island well and this too shall pass. Some Crucians, if these robbers were Crucian, just don't get it. The maintain the slavery mentality they so desperately wish to step out of, but some can't get out of their own way. As an active volunteer and when I return to the island will be stepping forward to assert change and education to the island. STX is a true hidden gem of the Caribbean and it will take work to get it to where it CAN be. Godspeed.

Posted : November 24, 2006 5:19 pm
(@Autumn M.)
Posts: 0
New Member

I have not heard of your friend, but it is good that she is doing something great.
I completely understand what you are saying in regards to the fact that you will see the poverty and such whether one wants to or not. I guess for me, it won't be all that big of a deal since I know it exists and I see it on a regular basis.
I work for an oral surgeon who happens to live on the very opposite end of the same street I live a million dollar home of course, but what is funny is that he is so sheltered and terrified to venture to ANY of the markets or shops located right across the street from me. Alot of it is perception and how you were raised.

In response to the slavery mentality...I can't agree with you more! So many perpetuate the circumstances in which they were raised. It is a viscious cycle and will take a lot of work to help curtail. You will ALWAYS have the hard heads, but even some of those can be turned around with some effort.

Above all, I wish everyone safety.

Posted : November 24, 2006 5:39 pm
(@scuba steve)
Posts: 1
New Member

I lived in hawaii with my two daughters for 8 years. 4 on the big island and 4 on oahu. They were 4 and 7 and went thru hell with the locals for the first year. After that they got along but they were Haoli girls. The local schools are not that good. When we moved to Oahu we had to send them to private schools at a higher tuition than you are talking about now. The local middle and High schools were horrible unless you were local and then you had to worry about your kids education. The well to do locals sent their kids to Punahoa or King Kam the Hawaiian school because if you were not a Bruddah you definitely did not belong. It was hard on our family living on military wages but we had no choice. Hawaii although beautiful was expensive and it took years for the locals to even warm up a little bit. All in all my kids like the islands and the beauty of the place and want to return they learned the hard lesson of of being a Haouli( White Visitor to the islands). I l;ove the islands there for many reasons but don't go to Wainaie side after dark or near the Pali pass or certain sections near Kaneohe bay. So I say I am looking forward to STX and the beauty of the island and so far in my visits I have not experienced the bad part of society and I hope those that do these criminal acts are caught and punished and let us all live better together with our neighbors who I believe are good people.

Posted : November 25, 2006 1:48 am
Posts: 87
Trusted Member

knowledge is power, I lived in Hawaii for 14 years, back when crime ran the island and the locals terrorised tourists, and it was not a new positive push of people that changed the crime and poverty it was the realization that tourism brought cash and cash brought better teachers and better programs for the poor and most important a better wage and more jobs, politics and money changed the Hawaiian islands.
STX has a shhh...don't tell the tourists policy keep quite it will blow over. But I believe the louder we become the sooner the politicians will have to act and any action at all would be start for a more positive direction. I applaud everyone who has the courage to fight for there home and community.

Posted : November 25, 2006 11:21 am
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