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aussie
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September 6, 2009 6:25 pm  

Why don't we just go ahead and put up some nice roadside billboards that say, "Crime Pays in the USVI"? Put a good looking kid on the sign, dressed sharply, with a dozen gold ropes around his neck and a good looking woman hanging from his arm. In the backgound we could put pictures of a new, tricked out sports car and one on the nicer homes on the islands. Is it because we don't want the kids to get that message? Nonsense! The kids are already getting that message. I submit that we, the victims and potential victims, don't want to see those signs. It messes with our perceptions and, therefore, our realities.

Let me go ahead and head off those that would say that kids get that same message everywhere - that it's not just in the VI. Yup, that's true. Many areas do a much better job of catching the crooks. Many areas do a much better job of prosecuting the crooks and putting them behind bars. Their odds of getting away with a life of crime in those areas are not nearly as good as their odds are here. In those towns, the billboard would have to have another background image - the same kid behind bars - no gold - no car - no girl - no nice home. When kids get that message, they often get back on, or stay on, the right track.

We see kids on this island trying to do what's right - trying to live honorably - trying to uphold the values their parents instilled in them. They work as baggers at the grocery stores, they sell fruit and fish on the roadsides, they wash cars and take odd jobs... There are far too few jobs on this island. Most jobs pay at the extremes. They pay $65K and up or they pay $8 to $10/hr. There's not much in between. What kind of life can an honest kid ever hope to have when he nets less than $1000/mo?

When people in power have the ability to change things for the better but don't, follow the money.

Ah, as you can plainly see, I'm still wrestling with this. Once you've seen behing the curtin, it's tough to put the blinkers back on and have any sense of being real or grounded. My desire to live here remains strong. The dream still lives within me. I am willing to accept greater risk than most folks would consider reasonable. Perhaps someone on this board can help me to gain a new perspective....


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trw
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September 6, 2009 6:35 pm  

sigh......................


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Exit Zero
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September 6, 2009 6:49 pm  

You are discounting the many youth of the Virgin Islands who work hard in school and go away to college - they often do not come back to the island to work and live for many reasons , career goals and better opportunities being a major draw to a stateside job. They do realize crime doesn't pay without a billboard of any kind -and that education is a key component of any economic betterment path - seeing a criminal element benefit from drug dealing or thievery in the VI is certainly no different then seeing the same examples in any urban area. Education, local businesses hiring local youth, trade schools, job placement and training facilities, and a community that re-enforces a work ethic of responsibility would all be better solutions then the billboard mentality.


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aussie
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September 6, 2009 7:03 pm  

Agreed. You are, of course, correct Exit Zero. And isn't that pretty much we see here? Good honest kids leaving the island to pursue better opportuniteies and a better life.

I wasn't the slightest bit serious about a billboard.


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Lizard
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September 7, 2009 11:40 am  

Hey Aussie,
When you did your PMV to STX, what was different about your perception and realities at that time vs now?


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stcmike
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September 7, 2009 3:54 pm  

The crime rate has reached epidemic proportions, I am not just talking about the murder rate but the burglary rate especially in broad daylight is ridiculous. I have now come to realize that it no longer worth it to continue to be a part time resident here. I've decided after being/visiting here over the last 30 years its no longer worth the trouble. Life is to short and precious to be in a place that no longer brings you joy. I will really miss the sunsets from walking down Strand St in Fsted or just taking walks along the pier. But life goes on. Good bye St Croix hello Hilton Head


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aussie
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September 7, 2009 5:19 pm  

Good afternoon, Lizard

Thanks for responding! I have a few things that I'm chewing on. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to openly discuss them here. I'll try to stay on point in this response.

I moved to St Thomas a little over 3 years ago without a PMV. I'm generally upbeat, confident, and I adapt easily. My transition to island life on St Thomas was not only easy as pie, but also just plain fun! I shared so many laughs learning how things are done here and learning to thrive in a new culture. I knew that crime is high throughout the Caribbean and I willingly accepted the risk because it is simply the price that must be paid if you want to shape your own little piece of paradise and live on a tropical island. The only real stumbling block I hit on St Thomas, and was not prepared for, came from articles in the paper. I don't recall the exact details so I won't try to recap them. The bottom line was that people were robbed at gun point, They did not resist. They gave the crooks everything. Stateside, that's generally where the incident ends. The bad guy flees the scene, you report the crime to the police, and hopefully you don't carry too much emotional baggage forward. On St Thomas, after reportedly offering no resistance and giving the crooks everything, the victims were shot anyway. That has stayed with me. To this day, I don't know if I'll resist if I find myself in that posistion. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't...

On St Thomas, I kept reading and hearing things about St Croix - good things and bad things. Most people said that the crime was totally out of control on St Croix and that chickens ran around in the streets. They described it like it was a third-world country. I also heard that where St Thomas could be compared with a US city, St Croix was more like a rual area in the states with lawns, fields, forests and lots of open areas. That had great appeal to me as I come from a rural area. I did some research. The crime stats for St Croix didn't agree with the stories I was hearing. Crime on St Croix, according to the stats, was very comparable to crime on St Thomas. My PMV to St Croix took all of one day. I loved this island the day I saw it. It just felt like home.

Thanks for bearing with me. I wanted to give you a little background. I think that the primary differences I now see are these:

I knew the stats when I moved here. We analyze stats. We think them through. It's largely a mental process.You know that these crimes were more than just stats to the people involved, and you can imagine what it may have felt like, but it's still just a stat. You're not connected to it.

Recently, many folks have relayed their stories to me. When you look into their eyes as they tell you what happened to them, it's no longer just a stat. You see their pain. You see the emotional baggage they still carry with them. These folks are survivors. They have not become shut-ins. They continue to live their lives but you can see in their eyes the true price of the crimes. I'm not talking about people leaving their purse on the beach and shocked that it was stolen type of stories either. One lady was having dinner at Cane Bay at 5PM. A handgun was pressed to her temple and she was robbed. Look in her eyes when she tells you about it and tell me what you see. Another lady came home to find the house had been broken into and most of her belongings stolen - for the 3rd time! Someone else was at the Pickled Greek. Their table was the first one inside the door and they were facing the door when the thugs walked in with T-shirts over their heads and began shooting. When you look into the eyes of friends and acquaintances as they tell you their stories, these crimes are no longer just stats. You begin to feel these crimes.

I'm a little more restricted as to where and when I can go places than I'd thought I'd be. I don't do drugs, seldom have a drink, and I'm rarely out after dark other than to listen to some music and watch a sunset on the beach. My risk is greatly reduced. I do, however, love to go to secluded beaches. It's what I've always done. It's where I'm at peace surrounded by nature. I've learned the hard way that it's not very wise to go to places like Hamm's Bay day or night. It's one of my very favorite spots. Look at the auto glass on the ground there. I've lost my glass there. When I surrendered and left my truck empty and the windows down, my battery was stolen. I don't think that they were after my battery. Their intent was to disable the truck. The battery cables were cut extremely short such that you couldn't hook up another battery. The truck had not been searched. If I hadn't found a way to get it out of there before dark, I don't think I would have had a truck the next day. This was at 2PM on a Sunday afternoon. There are stripped and torched cars along most of the entrances to the more secluded beaches on the west end. There's a pile of computers, monitors, CD's and floppy's all marked "Government of the Virgin Islands" on one such beach. I reported them over 8 months ago. Last I checked, they're still there. I love to fish alone on the beach at night, watch the moonlight play on the sea, listen to the surf, and watch the shooting stars. Here, at least on the west end, that's not a wise choice.

I have been the victim of crime 3 times in just over 2 years here on St Croix.

As I relayed earlier, I think what has me rattled the most is the story of the dogs being killed. I can't seem to shake that one.

Thanks for hearing me out and allowing me to share.


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DUN
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September 7, 2009 11:19 pm  

"As I relayed earlier, I think what has me rattled the most is the story of the dogs being killed. I can't seem to shake that one."

That upsets me too, why mess with the animals?


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Irijah
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September 7, 2009 11:33 pm  

get rid of the animals and the way in is much easier...ones around here used to just give em a steak with some ground up sleeping pills on it prior to the event...the true meaning of letting sleeping dogs lay...that is why guard dogs are trained to only take food from certain people...but killing the animals? cmon...either way is disgusting and done by weak spirited people in my sight.


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Lizard
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September 8, 2009 3:10 am  

The Story about the dogs,
Aussie said his neighbor "Thought" they were shooting dogs and targeting homes for a later entry. There is no record or news article about anything like this that has happened in the past. This is how "Urban Legends start". There was a dog shot in the leg this past June and the shooter is in jail for discharging his weapon in a public venue (not someones home). I've said in my past posts we need more police, better benefits/pay and more oversight. One thing we all agree on is crime is on the island and with the economy on the downward spiral crime is growing. So be careful out there.


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aussie
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September 8, 2009 3:53 am  

Lizard,

My neighbor and my friend was born and raised here. I talk with him often. He's in his sixties. He's an intelligent man with keen perception. He says that he's familiar with the pattern of dogs being killed before houses are broken into. He's seen it here in the past. You may dismiss it as an urban legend simply because you can not find a news article on the subject, but I do not.


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curran17
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September 8, 2009 5:25 am  

Aussie, your neighbor is correct. I remember my friends that lived in SEVEN HILLS back in 1981. They had 2 dogs YING and YANG......
they were always watching out for them.....I remember them telling me the same story
That is really making me feel horrible. I always wanted the crime to get better and planned on moving back.....it is horrible now, worse that I remember back in 1981 too.
Please stay safe you guys..........


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Lizard
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September 8, 2009 8:42 am  

curran17,
Ying and Yang, did the neighbor tell you the story or did Ying and Yang tell you the story? Like I said "Urban Legend" if not PROVE IT!


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aussie
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September 8, 2009 2:10 pm  

I was hoping for a little more open discourse. I'm reaching out here folks. Is no one willing to reach back?

After thinking about it, Lizard, it eases my mind that you were not able to find any evidence to support what I was told.

I intended to say it in previous posts..... My condolence to you on the loss of your friend, Peter.


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Trade
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September 8, 2009 2:19 pm  

What's there to say that hasn't been said over & over?


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Linda J
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September 8, 2009 2:38 pm  

AMEN and AMEN


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Native Son
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September 10, 2009 9:19 pm  

First thing to do is get the guns out of the hands of the criminals. How?

Announce an amnesty period of two days to turn in all illegal weapons.

Declare a State of Emergency and use the Police and National Guard to barricade entire neighborhoods and search house-to-house.
Confiscate and destroy all illegal weapons found.

Check the records of every owner of a legal firearm. if the individual does not physically possess every weapon he purchased, revoke his license and confiscate the remaining weapons in his possession.

...for starters


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Native Son
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September 10, 2009 9:22 pm  

I was hoping for a little more open discourse. I'm reaching out here folks. Is no one willing to reach back?

After thinking about it, Lizard, it eases my mind that you were not able to find any evidence to support what I was told.

I intended to say it in previous posts..... My condolence to you on the loss of your friend, Peter.

I will read your posts again abd see if I can reach out...sorry about your bad experiences. Maybe I live on a different St. Croix, but my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive...except for rude cashiers at Plaza and KMart LOL


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poodle
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September 10, 2009 11:50 pm  

Native Son, I wish we could have an amnesty period for weapons, but the thought of VIPD taking in any additional weapons to the guestimated 1200 they already have would frighten me dearly.

Too bad the ATF is no longer here to take on this task. Too bad all the weapons in storage with VIPD can't be turned over to ATF right now. I think we run a risk of allowing more untraceable guns to slip through the big cracks in VIPD evidence and storage.

Something has to be done, but what? Really, WHAT?


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Native Son
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September 11, 2009 1:59 pm  

Native Son, I wish we could have an amnesty period for weapons, but the thought of VIPD taking in any additional weapons to the guestimated 1200 they already have would frighten me dearly.

Too bad the ATF is no longer here to take on this task. Too bad all the weapons in storage with VIPD can't be turned over to ATF right now. I think we run a risk of allowing more untraceable guns to slip through the big cracks in VIPD evidence and storage.

Something has to be done, but what? Really, WHAT?

Maybe nothing can be done. If you take the draconian steps necessary, you run the risk of having the ACLU nipping at your heels as they go all out to protect the rights of the criminals.

Yes, many of the guns on the street are put there by the VIPD and other "law enforcement" agencies. The fox is guarding the hen house. The roots of this problem run very deep, and there is no turning back. It does not look good.

For example, I suggest a way to start getting the guns off the street, and immediately someone presents a roadblock. As far as I know, if a gun is thrown into salt water it becomes inoperative. As far as I know, we have some of the world's deepest waters here. If I dump 1200 illegal weapons into the Mariana Trench and some criminal wants to go get them, he can be my guest.


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aussie
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September 11, 2009 4:57 pm  

Native Son,

Thanks for your kind expression. I truly appreciate it.

I'm OK. I've regrouped or, at least, I'm in the process of regrouping. The sheer number of first-hand accounts I've heard in the past month had me rocked back on my heels. When I heard the story regarding the dogs from someone that I consider to be a credible source, it knocked me off balance. I, of course, have a doggie. He's my baby.

The vast majority of my experiences on St Thomas and St Croix have also been overwhelmingly positive. Swimming with a green sea turtle for hours is one of the most peaceful experiences I've ever known. Watching a 5-foot leatherback leave the sea and lay her eggs (and actually be allowed to touch her!) is a life-changing experience. I've landed tarpon after tarpon at night on the beaches of St Thomas all the while watching shooting stars so bright that I first caught sight of their reflection in the water and still had time to look up and see them. The night sky on the north shore of St Thomas is amazing. I've see bioluminescence in the water that lasted for weeks. Everything that moved left glowing trails - every crab - every predator chasing baitfish. It was incredible! I'm an infrequent reader of these boards and an infrequent poster. I'm guilty of coming here to vent or to look for help. I'm aware of it. I'm addressing it.

I moved here from a community with a very low crime rate. I think the fact that I function relatively well here and that I'm not paralyzed with fear says a little something about me. Here are the stats from where I called home for many, many years. How do these number compare with the Utopia you referred to, Lizard? Crime-free? Nope. These numbers are, nonetheless, pretty sweet.

Crime Rates Compared to National Average

The National Average is designated 1.0 - A value of 2.0 represents twice as much risk while a value of 0.5 represents half as much risk.

Total Crime Risk 0.27
Total Crime Risk (County) 0.36
Personal Crime Risk (County) 0.24
Murder Risk (County) 0.07
Rape Risk (County) 0.87
Robbery Risk 0.10
Assault Risk (County) 0.22
Property Risk (County) 0.41
Burglary Risk (County) 0.37
Larceny Risk (County) 0.45
Motor Vehicle Theft Risk (County) 0.23

I hit a moment of crisis and came to this board for help. I acknowledge that I probably started off on the wrong foot. To those of you that slammed the door on me, consider this. Other than new research and/or new treatments, what's left to say about cancer that hasn't been said over and over again? When that diagnosis hits close to home, and that individual hits a moment of crisis, I hope that you'll reach out to them with empathy and compassion - even if you're sick and tired of talking about it.


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Lizard
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September 11, 2009 9:07 pm  

Aussie,
If you are going to take a cheap shot at me, don't take a statement out of context from another thread. I have no other utopia other than STX and it's tainted. I don't engage in "urban legends" and don't try to be cute about crime on the island I call home ( Subject:Crime Pays in the USVI Author Aussie). I hear a lot of complaints Aussie, but no solutions, recommendations, or actions taken by you, only reaction, self pity and the desire to head cheerleader for crime on the island. (quote, I hit a moment of crisis and came to the board for help). JEEZ!


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aussie
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September 11, 2009 9:22 pm  

LOL...head cheerleader? LOL...where the heck did you get that?

Sorry, Lizard, you misunderstood me. I wasn't taking a cheap shot at you. In another thread you, spoke of Utopia and how crime is everywhere. Yup, it is. But you could pull down stats like the ones I posted from town after town after town in rural America. Many areas experience low crime. Pretty nice stats, aren't they?

You can come off as a crusty, hardened, old fart at times, Lizard, but I like you at once. 😀 I love to read your posts. If we haven't already met, I look forward to the day we do. Sorry if I offended you.


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Trade
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September 11, 2009 10:18 pm  

I'm not being snippy but if this is that disturbing to you, Aussie maybe the VI isn't the place for you. I mean that seriously. You have to be tough here & do what you can to make things better but not fall apart over everything that happens. Yes, it's bad. Yes, it's worse than a lot of places. Yes, it's also better than a lot of places down-island that cover up what's going on & don't kid yourself, they do. Comparing talking endlessly about crime in the VI here on this forum to talking about cancer makes no sense.


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Bombi
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September 11, 2009 10:33 pm  

Trade says; "Comparing talking endlessly about crime in the VI here on this forum to talking about cancer makes no sense.

unless you have and can initiate a solution.

It may seem some of us are a bit jaded but it's primarily a cultural issue. we continentals don't have much power in the grand scheme of the drama that is living in the VI, but we can be squeaky wheels and use what influence we have. letters and email are colorblind


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