If there is a core of truth embodied in the iconic phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,”it can certainly also be said that it takes a community to rid itself of crime. With the number of homicides that has taken place in the Federation for the year, the issue of crime is doesn’t seem to be squarely at the top of the national agenda. Plenty of fingers have been pointed at The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force for failing to gain significant leverage over the crime situation, but it must be said that police cannot do so without substantially more input from the public. For each shooting incident or robbery, there are more than likely individuals who have direct knowledge of the crime. By withholding information, such persons are ultimately making the situation far worse for themselves, and for the country at large. Active involvement by communities around the globe against crime have taken on varied forms. In numerous American cities ‘Crime Watch’ groups have been set up to patrol neighborhoods as a way of controlling illicit activities. Anything suspicious is reported to the local police station. The ‘National Night Out,’ an annual tradition in the U.S. and Canada, focuses bringing communities together for anti-crime and anti-drug programmes. In 2009, approximately 36 million persons across the North American continent participated in ‘Night Out’ activities. Interested citizens in one German state take part in citizen patrols manned by unarmed teams patrolling assigned areas. Members carry radios to call for help, if necessary, and wear identifying armbands. Taking things a few steps further, in another German province a Volunteer Police programme puts uniformed, trained, armed citizens on the streets to aid in crime prevention. When residents of areas plagued by criminal activity decide to take a more active role, good results tend to follow. By empowering the local community, a greater sense of unity can be fostered, as well as sending an unmistakable message to criminals that the local citizenry is organized and fighting back. Whether the programmes as described above would be successful in St. Kitts-Nevis remains an open question, but in the absence of more decisive methods of tackling the rising wave of crime and violence, the situation will likely continue to deteriorate. That means more brazen daylight robberies, more shootings, and an intensification of a homicide rate that is already among the world’s highest. Clearly, something has to be done, and heightened levels of community participation might just be the right strategy to begin to turn the national crime issue around. Reprinted from August, 2010