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MUST READ article - living here has become even more dangerous

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dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

"With skyrocketing gun violence rendering the Virgin Islands a veritable Wild West, and the murder rate more than five times the national average, the federal agency charged with helping to regulate guns and fight violent crime has packed up and left the territory."

We've got a very serious problem on our hands, and I implore everyone to read this article in its entirety: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/07/15/bullets-and-words-fly-feds-head-sidelines

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Topic starter Posted : July 15, 2009 4:52 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Happened like a year ago that they pulled out. I was proud of them for doing so.

The system here is so corrupt and its not just the govt its the people as well. Witness that change their stories five times, hard to find anyone that will stand up for the truth.

They want the feds help, but the local authorities will not step it up themselves. Most police officers here can not write a report that will be presentable for court. Don't even get me started with how the evidence almost always goes missing as well. Look at our prison, its a massive joke.

These islands have a long long way to go. People need to stop postering and admit we have a huge problem and ask for help, and listen to those qualified to give it. How things get done here is ridiculous.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 5:16 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

Call Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan - they just laid off about 100 State Police Troopers. It would help everyone.
Exerpt from
"State Police layoffs
take effect Sunday
About 100 troopers will be laid off
Updated: Friday, 26 Jun 2009, 7:29 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 26 Jun 2009, 7:29 PM EDT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - About 100 Michigan State Police troopers will be laid off Sunday after a last-ditch effort to avoid the job loss failed.

Members of the Michigan State Police Troopers Association voted against a furlough plan that would have temporarily cut their pay to avoid layoffs of low seniority workers.

The outcome of the vote was announced Friday, but vote totals weren't released.

The layoffs are expected to save the cash-starved state government $1.7 million in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. Most of the troopers affected were hired after finishing a training school in December.

Exerpt from article:
http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/07/15/bullets-and-words-fly-feds-head-sidelines

"While the VIPD declines to reveal how many officers it employs, it is chronically understaffed and has been trying for some time to recruit 150 new officers to blanket the three islands. "

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Posted : July 15, 2009 6:00 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Maybe the troopers from Michigan can come down to the USVI for a Job.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 6:11 pm
beachy
(@beachy)
Trusted Member

Someone on the Roger Morgan show this am said that the offisland police oficers that had been hired by the VI have mostly either already left or are leaving...but I did not hear any details etc as to whether this is true or why

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Posted : July 15, 2009 6:30 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

Lizard, My thoughts exactly. My dad is retired LEO. I will touch base with some people here to see if there is interest. Michigan's unemployment rate is over 15%. Someone has got to have some interest in coming down.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 7:13 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

Just passed info on to the program director of the Detroit PRN station regarding this. She will be in contact with me soon. I gave her this website link as well.
http://www.vipd.gov.vi/work_with_us/work_with_us.aspx

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Posted : July 15, 2009 7:27 pm
Michaelds9
(@Michaelds9)
Advanced Member

I was born in Dayton Ohio but lived the past 20 yrs in a small Ohio town where everyone knows everyone not more than a couple of times removed.
Everyone knows everything about everyone out here. Doors aren't locked, cars aren't locked. Theft? Murder? It's just not done.
Police are bored stiff with nothing to do but write speeding tickets.

But nearby Dayton Ohio is known as "Little Detroit" and in the areas effected by drug and other problems no one knows nothing.

VI is like a small town everyone knows everyone not more than a couple time removed. No one knows anything.

It's a matter of culture. Bringing more police won't change things without a huge shift in attitudes.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 7:32 pm
saucey
(@saucey)
Advanced Member

It sure would be nice if Melody Rames could verify comment made today as to whether or not the offisland officers have left or not.

If they have left, then why? These were apparently carefully selected eleos, and if vipd couldn't meet their promises made to them, then we really have a problem. State Troopers from Michigan would be great, but it seems it would just be a waste of their time and our money to bring them down here if the territory is insistent about not utilizing "outside" help.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 7:34 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

All we can do is be conduits of information. I passed on the recruitment page for the VI PD. People will discuss what matters with the people who know when and if they are interested. Just like we tell people on this board, do a PMV. Make sure you know what you are getting into. It's not paradise. Same applys to these guys.

I would like to know why the LEO's left. Any way to get that info?

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Posted : July 15, 2009 7:39 pm
Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member

Seems like it would be quite difficult, to say the least, for stateside law enforcement officers to come to the VI without any prior VI experience. I'd think they'd have to move here and spend a few months just learning about the culture before having any chance to effectively do their jobs.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 8:51 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

Understood. But do we have our own beating down doors to apply for these jobs here? Is there a good answer?

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Posted : July 15, 2009 8:55 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

So Betty,

I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the majority of the people living in the VI are decent people who want to be safe from thugs. I also assume, very likely correctly, that local law enforcement is unable to keep people safe from thugs -- and that some in law enforcement are thugs. What sort of crisis do you think it would take for the VI government to admit that it is unable to keep its residents safe, and that assistance from the feds is required in order to maintain law and order here?

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Topic starter Posted : July 15, 2009 9:43 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

If they want to be safe from thugs, the best way to do that is to stand up and be a witness. If you see something and don't report it and don't follow through with it the bad guys win and you become part of the problem.

I don't think the majority of VI govt will ever admit there is a problem. They don't want to risk loosing power and money.

I believe it's much like the local school system. The people really have to stop being apathetic and stand up to the govt and in the way the thugs to make a difference. The feds have all sorts of 1-800 numbers where you can tip things off anomyously and they will protect their witness, but getting people to stand up is the hard part.

The local VI govt is another thing, they don't have the money or competence to do it. Please understand I truly believe there are some excellent people in the local govt, but they are far far outweighed by the corruption and usually get burnt out quickly. Much like stateside law enforcement trying to make it here. The locals have to wake up and want to change for anything real to happen.

People picketed last summer every friday about wapa, but what about crime? So many on this board still stay again and again that crime is not bad, its just people involved in drugs, but that is simply sticking your head in the sand. It is bad, it has been bad and it will only get worse.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 9:56 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

So what is statistically the cause of the gun violence. Not someone's idea, not a firm belief, but actually, statistically what is causing the continued increase in violent crime here and specifically gun violence? I really want to know - been trying to find out all day - looking back at old police blotters and court records to see if I could come up with the answer. Does anyone know who tracks this and where we, as the public, can get this information.

Because until we know what it really is that's biggest cause, we can't address it properly.

And yes, I will agree that the prison/jail facility at Golden Rock is failing. I personally have experience with friends and family that have (and still are) there. I know what goes on there through them. It would be nice, though Betty, if you could spell out how the prison is a joke. I don't disagree with you, but until we get things defined as to specifics of what is wrong and why - we can't begin to bring about a resolution.

It does no good for us to bitch about something but not take action to find a fix for it. If we just complain and do nothing then we are as complacent as the ones we complain about.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 10:11 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Michaeld9,
Just a little 1st hand experience about the culture, After Hugo the National Guard couldn't contain the Havoc on STX. They Federalized The Gurard and brought in Active duty Army. They the Army didn't give 2 cents on who you were related too. The Looting and Havoc ended immediately. So maybe 100 troopers could make a big difference, maybe make them a special unit like 5 "O". I think you could train them about the culture of the islanders in about 8 hours. Seen it done.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 10:16 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Linda,
The prison is a joke. The feds won't even put their prisoners there. About 98 of them that they had there were shipped off island 6 months ago. People are constantly escaping, have things like cell phones, microwaves, steak knives. Every prison has drugs, so I'm not even mentioning that. About every 3 to 6 months someone breaks out, this is not the tiniest bit normal for a prison. Not staying it doesn't happen stateside, but nowhere near this volume.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 10:31 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

The lack of a federal presence is very scary to me. I would not be adverse to the federal government sending in troops and cleaning out all of the guns in the projects. I know, that will never happen and the "freedon of" implications are enormous.

The "projects" are a breeding ground for crime. Underage girls giving birth with no father in sight is a sure prescription for disaster. Children having babies.There are thousands of people living on the islands doing the right thing and trying to stay safe.But.. The projects are another thing entirely. I think they should all be torn down and we should help the residents find individual housing on other parts of the island. Living in the projects strips the pride and ambition from the young people who live there. Living there teaches them how to be a better criminal. How to be dependent rather than self sufficient.

Please don't jump on me for this criticism, because I know that some very fine people have come out of the projects, many good people still live there. But ask any policeman, he (or she) will tell you that the majority of the problems (the majority of the guns and crime)come out of the projects.

It is time to tear them down.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 10:53 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

At the price of concrete, tearing down the projects is ludicrous. How about re-vamp them and tighten up the requirements. Like, jail time...no apartment. Young, strong, able to work? No job?....no apartment. Whatever the solution, it all takes money and commitment. It starts (and ends) with education!

MsInfo, I didn't mean that as a personal attack on your opinion, just that the price of concrete is out the roof!:-)

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Posted : July 15, 2009 11:09 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

Where would we house all those people a) if we tore them down or b) if we renovated them? I know something has to be done, but it's gonna have to be a comprehensive fix. Most of those "projects" are run by

Check this out - read down and see they have "objectives" for more projects.
Perhaps some oversight and regulations need to be addressed before opening any more facilties. Letter writing time.

"VIHFA objectives for 2010 include four affordable housing development projects on St. Thomas, one on St. John, and two on St. Croix. They also plan to create a true emergency housing program in the territory as there currently are no emergency housing units."

and

"Clifford Graham, executive director of VIHFA, said the tax credit allocation for the U.S. Virgin Islands is approximately $2.66 million per year, yielding more than $22 million in federal subsidies to be used for affordable rental units."

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/07/09/housing-finance-authority-seeks-255-million

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Posted : July 15, 2009 11:24 pm
Jules
(@Jules)
Trusted Member

I don't agree with some of these generalizations. First of all, what exactly do you mean by "projects"? Second, what data do you have that supports the assertion that the source of all this violent crime is "the projects"? Thirdly, if the "projects" are torn down, where/how do you propose to house all of these people?

There is a cluster of subsidized housing near me that it clean, nice, new, well-maintained, and quiet. Doesn't appear to be a hotbed of crime.

I do agree with some of the other concepts in the last few posts-- attitude of entitlement, undereducation, etc.

Still have no idea what to do about it. Not sure that a military-like occupation by outside law enforcement would solve the problems.

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Posted : July 15, 2009 11:46 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

Where to start?
Welfare is the problem.
This system that entitles non-working,or low income mothers to a check/food stamps/housing etc.
Welfare mothers have boyfriends,who they wont marry(the "moms" will loose their government benefits if they do).
So,what we have is a incentive for these people to produce many offspring as they can as they are monthly checks, and not marry.
The Boyfriends,who have 2 or more mother girlfriends, do not have the financial power,the mother welfare recipients wield the power in the relationship,as they are the bread winners(even if it`s a government handout).
Some, BF are gangsters,and that is how they (the men)have power in the relationship again.

Obviously,everything the above does, reeks havoc on the entire rest of the civilization!

You can`t GIVE someone something, without TAKING it from someone else!

It has been argued,that this very system is what keeps these people oppressed.
Generation,to generation is taught how to run,get over on this system, & are taught to leech from it.
Anyone can try to crawl out from this oppression,but they have to have the pride & drive to do so.

The ones that choose to work(here,in the VI), work at children's jobs (such as fast food restaurants,which is why the guy in front of you got twice as much food, for 1/2 the price),so you may even get less than 1/2 to keep up with the inventory!
Yup,they figured that out,clever(but why not use this wit to strive to something better???).

This is WHAT happens, when you have erm adults do a child's job!

I remember when Clinton was in office & I herd a commercial on TV that said"Social services wants me to get a job,& stop making Dee baby"
That would be a good place to start!
What of the education programs for jobs?
What,work around was devised to circumvent that?

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Posted : July 16, 2009 12:25 am
poodle
(@poodle)
Trusted Member

here's my perspective on the issue at hand:

Our territorial law enforcement is just that, TERRITORIAL.

They don't want help from no outsiders, as outsiders are just a bunch of people telling the VIPD what to do. Actually, I was recently told that Melody Rames had stated those words in regards to the Federal Consent Decree...just a bunch of outsiders...

So, if the VIPD does not recognize and honor a Peace Officer Status between Federal and local law enforcement, then they get to put federal agents in court under civilian prosecution. If the feds are subject to local prosecution, then they go in local prison IF they are found guilty of wrong doing. This agent on STT may in fact be guilty of excessive force, which I personally doubt, but it should be up to a Federal Court to decide. If this agent is found guilty and goes to jail here with the very same people he put in jail, he's being given a death sentence by local court. If he were to be found guilty by a Federal Court, he would go to prison in another location.

Why the hell wouldn't the ATF pull out? Why should they put any other agents in a position like the one is now. When is the last time you heard of ANY ATF, DEA, or FBI agent that was corrupt? They just have a higher standard of law enforcement ethics than most local enforcement agencies in ANY state or territory.

Granted, the agent needs to go through a trial, but he does not need to be threatened with his life by the possibility of winding up in Grove. And neither does any other agent in any other division of Federal Justice support.

VIPD seems to be acting on a vendetta. Let's get to the bottom of this, then we can solve the problem and get all the Federal support back on islands.

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Posted : July 16, 2009 12:52 am
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

Thank you for all the interesting responses. My comments were perhaps more rhetorical than actual. Just as we could not have armed soldiers storming through public housing to confiscate illegal firearms, we would not have a team of workers with jackhammers tearing down the buildings.

Public Housing...the projects, is as Dun puts it, "the system that keeps these people oppressed". All of the relocation and social problems not withstanding, I believe that they (public housing residents) would be better served if the money spent on housing became dispersed throughout the island. The projects have become a symbol of despair and failure. If these same people, with government help, were encouraged to rent, even buy selected property around the island, their lives would improve and the island would improve.

Maybe it is not realistic, but that would be my solution.

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Posted : July 16, 2009 1:00 am
poodle
(@poodle)
Trusted Member

Okay, now for the ELEO's, aka Experienced Law Enforcement Officers:

I happened to be at Government House the day they were sworn in. I was able to look each new officer in the eyes and thank them for coming here to help us. The warmth and dedication to their obligations as a Police Officer was clearly visible when they looked back into my eyes. I almost wept with anticipation of a real change coming to our territory. These 4 men and one woman, among the 2 additional Deputy Chiefs of Police, made it clear they understood that the community wanted them here, and they were here to help.

A few weeks later, word comes that 2 have left the territory. This occurred during the replacement of McCall by Francis. Why did these sworn and dedicated officers leave? What did the VIPD Union, beat officers, or Francis do, rather neglect to do, to ensure that the "outsiders" would leave the territory?

On STJ, the new ELEO's were promised housing and transportation, but apparently got neither. So, the two of them were transferred to STX. Yet, something is still SO WRONG that they want to leave.

The ELEO's were hired by VIPD knowing that they would only be beat/patrolmen. Their experience in law enforcement in their previous jurisdictions was a much higher rank than that of patrolmen, but they agreed to come here knowing that was all they would do. After all, they were collecting a pension upon retiring, but were still willing and able and dedicated to perform the basic duty of patrolmen. So, what exactly is the VIPD union and acting commissioner doing to make these people leave. It must be pretty bad, that all I can deduce.

It's to me a clear message that VIPD don't want no outsider...

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Posted : July 16, 2009 1:17 am
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