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Easy break


Research has revealed that thousands of householders in Barbados are making it easy for criminals to break into their homes.

Barbados TODAY has been informed that between 2006 and 2011 – the period covered by a local burglary study – nearly 8,000 homes were broken into either because people had left their doors unlocked, windows opened or ladders present on the outside.

“We did a burglary study. We looked at domestic burglaries that occurred in Barbados between 2006 and 2011. Barbados had 7,951 burglaries during that period, which we determined (that) you had approximately between 125 to 130 burglaries per month,” Director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention, Cheryl Willoughby, told this newspaper this morning.

“Through that study we were able to profile and look at the types of homes that were being victimised and we were also able to look at entry points and what homeowners were doing to make themselves targets for burglary,” added the crime prevention and research official.

Based on those findings, Willoughby said, the National Task Force on Crime Prevention will be working with insurance companies, security firms and householders, “so that they would have a better sense of what they need to do to make homes hard targets for crime”.

The survey, which involved all 11 parishes in the island, found that homeowners were leaving their doors unlocked, windows opened, sash windows being specifically “very’ vulnerable and placing blocks and ladders around their homes.

“So these are things that we are going to be targeting with our message. Also, what we noticed was that homeowners were buying expensive equipment and leaving the empty boxes, . . . the garbage outside for persons to see, and we are going to be encouraging them to destroy these things, so that persons would not actually know what you have in your home,” announced Willoughby.

“What homeowners also have to be mindful of is their routine,” advised the former police officer.

“If you are accustomed leaving home at a specific time on mornings and not returning for an entire day, may you need to vary that routine that you are doing,” she reasoned. “All these things we are going to be working with law enforcement officers as well as all our other partners to address burglaries.”

Willoughby, who was speaking during the break of the 34th Annual Crime Stoppers International Conference at Hilton Barbados Resort, said the researchers examined rural and urban districts, as well as those considered gated communities.

The NTFCP director also disclosed that her agency will be meeting this month with all the stakeholders in crime fighting to update them on what the research was showing and also to plan the strategy for the future.

“The department is small and we can’t do much without building that partnership and capacity. So that’s [what] we are looking to do now. We are looking to strengthening our capacity, through working with our partners,” added the anti-crime advocate.

Willoughby said the strategy would include working with schools.

“Right now we are working with the Royal Barbados Police Force Crime Prevention Department, to go into the schools to address inquisitive crimes such as theft, and the same property damage.”

“We are also working with the US Embassy and the British High Commission with a programme called No Witness, No Justice, where we are going back into the schools encouraging young people to report crimes that they are seeing within the school system and we are also trying to expand our dispute resolution programme,” Willoughby continued.

The director of the National Task Force also announced that her department was in the process of conducting a study to determine if gangs existed in Barbados. 

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