St. Croix crime...t...
 
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St. Croix crime...the truth

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JE
 JE
(@je)
Advanced Member

My wife and I go out for dinner several times during the week, almost always after dark. We usually go somewhere on the north shore, where we live, at least once a week and somewhere in Csted or east once a week also. The restaurants typically have a pretty good crowd, even on weeknights, so there are definitely people on STX that are not afraid to go out after dark. We have lived here since 2005 and have been a crime victim once, when we were robbed at a restaurant on the west end in 2006, and were at another a couple of months later on the north shore when it was robbed, but they never got around to us. We have owned our house since 2002 and it has never been burglarized, but every couple of years there are a string of break-ins in some north shore neighborhood, including ours.

Probably over half the people I know have been a victim of crime here, such as a car break-in or house burglary. In 50 years of stateside living I can only think of two or three people that I knew that were crime victims so obviously the chances of me being a victim of crime are much greater here than anywhere I ever lived in the states, and I lived in some high crime rate cities. However, right now it is an acceptable risk to me and there is no other place I would rather live at this point in my life. But I do take more precautions than I used to, such as I normally don't park in the government lot in Csted at night anymore, and try not to be the last patrons leaving a place either. But of the two restaurant robberies I was present, one occurred during the afternoon and the other around 7:30 at night, so nothing is risk free.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 12:20 pm
margaritagirl
(@margaritagirl)
Trusted Member

We have been on island since 2005.

Our house was broken into after the first year that we lived here. They came thru a locked sliding door. They stole our keys to our vehicles and drove off with them. We were home, woken up by our dog. My husband tried to stop one guy from stealing the car but he was already in it backing out.
We now have a security system on the house. We also put pin locks on the sliding doors. We sleep with our keys to our vehicles. Have clubs on both cars.

We also were in one restaurant robbery. 3 armed gunmen came in a very crowded restaurant it was around 8pm. We were able to run down the beach to get away. I could hear people screaming and crying. It was horrible.
When we do go out to a restaurant we try to leave before everyone is cleared out. You have to be on guard at all times.

I know people who don't lock there doors, they have never had a problem.

Rotorhead, have you thought about leaving the island after what happened to you and your wife? I know we did.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 1:27 pm
wcpalmer
(@wcpalmer)
Advanced Member

these last 2 posts are in stark contrast to each other. It is very interesting to hear 2 completely different opinions back to back.

rotorhead, that is a scary story... I am very sorry to hear that you had to go through that. If you do not mind me asking, what part of the island were you living on when your break in occurred?

The west end of the island is sounding like the place to look for a house.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 2:37 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Crime happens out West too. Ask the Tingles, who own Coconuts.

There is no place on St. Croix where you can absolutely, 100%, feel "safe." There are people who have had gated private fenced homes with multiple cameras, etc. that have been robbed.

Point is, find where YOU feel most comfortable - not just based on what others say, do your best to mitigate being a crime victim, and then live your life. If your goal on finding a home in St. Croix is to find somewhere you will feel 100% safe, you'll have a tough time.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 2:45 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Husband and I were at the same restaurant as JE the night it was robbed. We were sitting at the bar and Ric and Jim were trying to get me and his wife down under the bar. I have two artificial knees and by the time I was able to get down (not an easy feat!!) it was all over. Scary but almost surreal. Funny thing is, except for snatching a purse or two, they didn't take anything - I guess you could call it a "run by shooting" (yes, at least one gun was fired).

But you have to understand what a close-knit community STX is. The bar owners are friends of ours. They work long, hard hours to make this place a success. So as soon as possible, we were back at our regular places, drinking and eating. Can't let the bad guys win.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 2:45 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

If you live on STX, you're going to get robbed and they probably won't catch them, but you might bump into them at the grocery store. It's a sacrifice, but this community is strong and only getting stronger and it is well worth it.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 3:18 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You guys in STX have it tough! I have lived in this particular location for the last 10 years and no-one, thankfully, has attempted to break in.
None of my neighbors, friends or tenants have been burglarized, held up or shot at while dining and I hope it stays that way.
The home I lived in prior to this for 30 years and that neighborhood had no problems there either in terms of break-ins. (fingers crossed!)
STX sounds like the Wild West compared to STT with so many of you being the victims of crime.

I am not saying there is no crime here in STT nor that it does not happen but you all seem to have way more of it from what I read here on this forum. There is no 100% completely safe place in this day and age, unfortunately.
You all be safe out there and stay alert!

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Posted : December 5, 2013 4:10 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

I have lived on STX for 15 years, in the same house. We live on Beeston Hill which is just west of Christiansted, it's a nice neighborhood. Every few years we have a string of break-ins. The most concerning thing is the violent crime. The murder rate here is 10 times the US national average. Our murder rate is higher than the two worst places in the states, Detroit and New Orleans.

You don't have to go out and do unsafe things to be a victim, they come to you in your home. Take Bob Johnson for example, he was a really nice guy, murdered in his own home out on the east end. He was not a gang member or a drug user. Unsolved. Or Peter Des Jardins murdered while having dinner at the Pickled Greek restaurant. Unsolved. People get caught in the cross fire.

And don't think that STX is worse than STT. The police keep statistics and they are published in the papers, crime is pretty evenly split between the two main islands.

Daily News Article on homicide rate.
http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/v-i-homicide-rate-still-among-world-s-highest-1.1434291

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Posted : December 5, 2013 4:35 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

STT had to cancel part of their carnival this last year due to gangs shooting in the crowd. There is bad stuff throughout the VI. I wish there was a solution, but it seems to be a very complicated problem.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 4:45 pm
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

This is the only place that we have lived, and we have lived all over the world, that we, in 5 years, personally know 3 people who have been killed on the island. Embarrassed to even say it. In the past worked in Detroit, Sao Paulo, Brasil and Mexico City so what does that tell you?

None of the criminals have been brought to justice!!!!! That says even more!

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Posted : December 5, 2013 6:28 pm
Jamison
(@Jamison)
Trusted Member

Sure, we all know a few people who've been murdered, but hey, it's a tiny island, you get to know a lot of it.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 7:12 pm
loucypher
(@loucypher)
Advanced Member

STT had to cancel part of their carnival this last year due to gangs shooting in the crowd. There is bad stuff throughout the VI. I wish there was a solution, but it seems to be a very complicated problem.

How about a giant broom to clean the entire VI government?

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Posted : December 5, 2013 7:44 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

This article in the Source was interesting re:youthful offenders: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2013/12/05/alternative-education-fighting-uphill-battle-troubled-teens

Why are there so many more Crucian youngsters than St Thomian youngsters in the hoosgow?

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Posted : December 5, 2013 7:47 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

STT had to cancel part of their carnival this last year due to gangs shooting in the crowd. There is bad stuff throughout the VI. I wish there was a solution, but it seems to be a very complicated problem.

How about a giant broom to clean the entire VI government?

"like"

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Posted : December 5, 2013 7:49 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

Neither of the two murders Rotor mentioned occurred as he described them. There were circumstances in both cases which cannot be overlooked if a fair analysis of crime is to be arrived at.

I will never understand why a significant percentage of the 'continental' population, generally people of means who could live richly anywhere on the planet, yet who invest comparatively little here, choose to stay in the Virgin Islands and huddle under a cloud of fear and slag off our home at every opportunity. The choices I've made compel me to live here and I am completely content to do so. Becoming a part of this community, rather than lording myself over it or living a separate existence along side it, has been one of the richest experiences of my life.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 11:33 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

sunnycaribe, how did those two murders occur then if not how stated by rotor.

the way i heard them was the same as was described by rotor and many others. so every one is wrong except you?

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Posted : December 5, 2013 11:38 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

My take - It is possible to be part of a community and still be concerned about crime. The two are not exclusive. Granted there are those who may see themselves living a separate existence, and some do "lord," but not everyone fits so neatly into categories. Each does their best in the way they can.

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Posted : December 5, 2013 11:40 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Neither of the two murders Rotor mentioned occurred as he described them. There were circumstances in both cases which cannot be overlooked if a fair analysis of crime is to be arrived at.

I will never understand why a significant percentage of the 'continental' population, generally people of means who could live richly anywhere on the planet, yet who invest comparatively little here, choose to stay in the Virgin Islands and huddle under a cloud of fear and slag off our home at every opportunity. The choices I've made compel me to live here and I am completely content to do so. Becoming a part of this community, rather than lording myself over it or living a separate existence along side it, has been one of the richest experiences of my life.

I too am interested in "circumstances" that were overlooked about the two murders that I mentioned. Please educate us.

"slag off our home at every opportunity" what does this mean?

slag - from urban dictionary
1. An individual who cares not for relationships beyond the realm of the sexual, these people sleep with many partners not caring about anything save for the moment of climax.
2. Rubbish that is not worth the time or effort of paying attention to it, but none the less draws one in. Used to describe unpleasent situations.
3. Physical trash, often scrap metals.
4. Drawn from frag, to slag something is to destroy it, used in cases of technological rather then biological items.

"Becoming a part of this community, rather than lording myself over it or living a separate existence along side it". Please explain this. There are many ways to get involved in the community, you seem to lump all "continentals" into one category and summarily dismiss them all. Most of the non-profit volunteer organizations that I know of are run mostly by "continentals'. Even though they only represent 15% of the population.

When it comes to crime, the statistics speak for themselves. Yes, there is crime everywhere, but there is much more here than anywhere else in the US.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 12:13 am
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member

You have to look at it like this, on an island, any island, your chances of being a victim of a crime is a greater than if you lived in the states just due to the size comparison. Also, when tourism is involved, the crime rate is magnified. My parents home was burglarized 3 times in 2 years on St. Thomas but never once in the states. My home was burglarized twice in St. Thomas and never in the states and this was back in the early 70's.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 12:46 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

[.......snip..........]

I too am interested in "circumstances" that were overlooked about the two murders that I mentioned. Please educate us.

By suggesting that both Peter DesJardins and Bob Johnson's murders occurred as simply as you stated, you are overlooking facts that are important to understanding the nature of violent crime here. Peter was not simply shot while having dinner, by all accounts he tried to intervene in the robbery and was shot as a result of his heroism. Does this fact make his death any less tragic? Absolutely not! But it does put some important context into a situation that is otherwise easily exploited by those who think in simple us-vs-them terms. Bob Johnson was indeed a nice and charming person, but anyone who knew him knows that he was also very complicated, and so were the circumstances of his tragic murder. My point is that they were indeed horrible crimes that have gone unsolved which contribute to our already high crime rate but they were not lightning strikes out of a clear blue sky. The OP asked about the truth about crime on St. Croix. An honest answer must take the context of those murders into account.

"slag off our home at every opportunity" what does this mean?

I used the term in the British sense..."(UK, slang, transitive, idiomatic) To talk insultingly to or about someone or something."

"Becoming a part of this community, rather than lording myself over it or living a separate existence along side it". Please explain this. There are many ways to get involved in the community, you seem to lump all "continentals" into one category and summarily dismiss them all. Most of the non-profit volunteer organizations THAT I KNOW OF are run mostly by "continentals'. Even though they only represent 15% of the population.
[emphasis added]

Precisely my point. If you or anyone else think that continentals run most of the volunteer / nonprofit organizations you are definitely living a life apart.

When it comes to crime, the statistics speak for themselves. Yes, there is crime everywhere, but there is much more here than anywhere else in the US.

Agreed. And likewise I agree that what you went through, as I understand it, was horrible. It took me years to get over being shot at in front of my child, and I had a pretty dim view of things for a while. But I've come to realize that a big part of the problem about crime here on StX comes from us-vs-them thinking. There is no 'them'. There is only US and the more people who realize that, the better life gets here for EVERYONE and I think the unexpectedly low crime rate after the closure of the refinery proves that point better than I ever could.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 3:07 pm
stt007
(@stt007)
Advanced Member

My anecdotal perception is that the judicial system does not enforce the laws, and are very lenient with criminals, esp friend if friends, relatives and friends if relatives and relatives of friends. People on trial use threat of violence against jurors to cause mistrials, etc. I don't have facts to back up this perception. If it is true, doesn't this embolden criminals or criminals to be?

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Posted : December 6, 2013 3:17 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Being shot at dinner in a restaurant, whether trying to intervene (and save others) or not, is a shot out of a clear blue sky in my book. Blaming the victim? Really? That's like saying women ask to be raped when they wear sexy clothes to a party.

Not being able to go to dinner without wondering if "tonight is the night" is not cool. And that's not an "us vs. them" mentality. It's just reality. Are you saying criminals who rob restaurants pick and choose who in the restaurant they rob, by judging who is "us" and who is "them?" And you can't say it's just certain restaurants that get robbed, the restaurants that have been robbed are across the board. Norma's was full of locals and members of the community during the robbery/shooting last year. Was that a result of "us vs. them?"

I think disparaging people who may live their lives differently is also part of the problem. There is not near as much "us vs. them" as is perceived by those who are looking for it. It perpetuates the perception more than works to mitigate it.

I posit that it's more that people just want to live their lives, with their family and friends, no matter where they live, and not be afraid of accidentally annoying the wrong person or saying the wrong thing in a group of people and becoming the target of crime, which is exactly what happens on STX. And yes, most of those folks get away with it. I'll repeat myself again, it's sad. But it is what happens.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 3:33 pm
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

You have to look at it like this, on an island, any island, your chances of being a victim of a crime is a greater than if you lived in the states just due to the size comparison. Also, when tourism is involved, the crime rate is magnified. My parents home was burglarized 3 times in 2 years on St. Thomas but never once in the states. My home was burglarized twice in St. Thomas and never in the states and this was back in the early 70's.

Mdoramike

I have to disagree with you on this one!

We lived in the Grenadines on a smaller island than St. Croix and not one murder in 8 years! And, they had much more tourism than St. Croix....not the Virgin Island, only St. Croix. We also owned a house for 27 years in a small town in the States with the same population as St. Croix and there were zero murders in the town during our entire ownership.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 6:38 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

By suggesting that both Peter DesJardins and Bob Johnson's murders occurred as simply as you stated, you are overlooking facts that are important to understanding the nature of violent crime here. Peter was not simply shot while having dinner, by all accounts he tried to intervene in the robbery and was shot as a result of his heroism. Does this fact make his death any less tragic? Absolutely not! But it does put some important context into a situation that is otherwise easily exploited by those who think in simple us-vs-them terms. Bob Johnson was indeed a nice and charming person, but anyone who knew him knows that he was also very complicated, and so were the circumstances of his tragic murder. My point is that they were indeed horrible crimes that have gone unsolved which contribute to our already high crime rate but they were not lightning strikes out of a clear blue sky. The OP asked about the truth about crime on St. Croix. An honest answer must take the context of those murders into account.

Thanks for your view of the events. They do not match the reported accounts.

"Des Jardin was apparently an innocent bystander to a robbery attempt gone horribly wrong. A musician and entertainment columnist for the St. Croix Avis, he had been sitting at the restaurant along with a table-full of friends, laughing and talking into the night. His fiancé, Tonya Swinnea, had left the restaurant right around 11:30 p.m. Just 11 minutes later, the island's 911 center recorded the call of shots being fired."
http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/08/07/des-jardins-murder-inspires-public-protest-private-grief

As far as Bob Johnson goes, I don't see how your description modifies what I said at all. Do you know the circumstances of Bob's death? I am sure the police would like to hear from you.

"Becoming a part of this community, rather than lording myself over it or living a separate existence along side it". Please explain this. There are many ways to get involved in the community, you seem to lump all "continentals" into one category and summarily dismiss them all. Most of the non-profit volunteer organizations THAT I KNOW OF are run mostly by "continentals'. Even though they only represent 15% of the population.
[emphasis added]

Precisely my point. If you or anyone else think that continentals run most of the volunteer / nonprofit organizations you are definitely living a life apart.

So what you are saying is that if continentals move here and get involved with the community in different ways than you do then they are lording it over you? I maintain that there are multiple "communities" on St Croix. Why are all "continentals" who move here obliged to get involved in only the things that you or other people who consider themselves local approve of otherwise they deserve to be "victims". If you have a large social circle and participate in organizations that improve our "community", how are you remaining apart? And what is wrong with remaining apart? Isn't that a personal choice? Do you deserve to become a victim if you remain apart?

Everyone didn't move here to get involved in the culture and history of St Croix. Some moved here to enjoy the weather and the warm water. To hang out with friends and family. And that is a valid reason for moving here. Does that mean that these people are "lording" anything over anyone. They are just trying to live their lives. Are these "continentals" the perpetrators of most of the violent crime?

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Posted : December 6, 2013 6:39 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Most of the non-profit volunteer organizations THAT I KNOW OF are run mostly by "continentals'. Even though they only represent 15% of the population.
[emphasis added]

Precisely my point. If you or anyone else think that continentals run most of the volunteer / nonprofit organizations you are definitely living a life apart.

I can only speak to the ones that my wife and I have been involved with, these include The St Croix Animal Welfare Center, The Women's Coalition of St Croix, The Botanical Gardens, The Boy Scouts of America and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Is becoming involved with these organizations remaining apart?

You seem to be blaming the victims. How does someone living differently or apart justify violence against them? Your view seems very much like what I saw in Washington state. The local people disliked the people from California who moved there. They blamed them for driving up the real estate prices and for taking jobs that rightfully belonged to people from Washington. They were wrong of course. They were all Americans and we are all free to live and work anywhere in the US.

The big difference was that the people in Washington didn't resort to violence against the people from California.

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Posted : December 6, 2013 9:11 pm
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