Crime, Again The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded its 19th murder of the year, a horrendous number for a nation this size. In addition to the latest homicide, the Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police have reported four shootings in the last week, three on St. Kitts and one on Nevis. The homicide and at least two of the shootings may be gang-related, according to police sources. In relation to the gang-related violent crimes, many people of good standing have the tendency to say, “So what? It is bad people killing bad people.” While that outlook is understandable, it is not, in the interest of building a strong and equal society, an attitude that can prevail. Murder is never justice and stealthy ambushes are never a trial by jury. They are just crimes, plain, simple and horrible. Many leaders and commentators have weighed in on the cause for the rise in violent crime. Some have said the loosening of family bonds is to blame. Some have said changes in the way people live and interact together are to blame, that neighbors no longer look out for each other the way they used to. In other views, the culprit is too much American television, illegal drugs, the introduction of more guns into the criminal world and a lack of desire by some young people to find decent jobs. All of these reasons and more are at the heart of the problem of violent crime. The tough thing to digest is that there are no easy answers. It’s virtually impossible to have a clear idea of how the police are responding to these matters. Victims of various crimes complain that the police seem indifferent when they respond to calls. For their part, police officials do their utmost to avoid answering questions from the press, which leaves the public even further in the dark about the extent of the crime problem. This creates a cycle of distrust and misinformation, which seriously impedes the ability of the police to do the one key thing they need to gain the upper hand on the criminals: Build public support. Elected leaders have talked a lot about the need to combat rising crime. The emphasis they have placed on improving schools, finding positive outlets for young people and increasing support for law enforcement are all on the right track to bring crime under control in the long term. What appears to be lacking is a cohesive plan to rally public support to fight criminals here and now, right now, at the time when murder is becoming commonplace, woundings are the stuff of waning interest and crimes against property continue unabated. Of course, the victims of these crimes are probably far less indifferent than their leaders seem to be. In the end, the will of the people will determine how far crime is allowed to go. The men and women who live and work every day in the Federation, the people who pay the taxes, follow the law, raise their families and go to the voting booths will say if the efforts to bring crime under control are enough. They will acknowledge the complexity of the issue and endorse what is being done; or they will acknowledge the price paid by victims and by society as a whole for these terrible actions – they will feel sorrow and anger ” and demand greater accountability and more effective measures to end the violence.