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Troubled teens

Police officer warns of ‘worrying’ rise in crime among youth

A senior police officer has painted a damning picture of crime among the country’s youth, warning that unless something is done to stem the tide Barbados will soon be overtaken by “a new criminal breed”.

Sergeant Roland Cobbler revealed last night that students from as young 11 were involved in violent crime, citing a case of a 15-year-old controlling drug gangs within his school.

Speaking last night at a panel discussion on, Crime and Violence and its Effect on Today’s Youth, organized by the St Michael School Alumni, Cobbler said drug use was widespread among the island’s schools, with a select group of students putting into practice habits learned from adults with whom they associate.

“Unfortunately a number of our students in every single school in this country are engaged in drug use. I’ve been to a St Michael School recently where there is an issue of drug use.

“This morning I toured another school where I spoke to a chap about 15 years old, and he allowed me to know that he controls things at that school. He has about ten or 15 boys who are part of his group . . . They are associated with older persons who are involved in criminal activity. So when he indicated to me that he hangs out with adults from the Dog Pound, I realized that there are only certain activities he will see and will take to the school,” said the officer, who was trained in sociology at the University of the West Indies.

Cobbler said crime among the youth was “nothing new” but said there’s a “worrying” trend of children engaging in serious crime at a much younger age. He presented statistics on the activities of those between the ages of 11 and 16 that show a staggering rise in the number of young people engaged in crime and violence. And he warned that these children would take their propensity for crime into their adult lives.

Describing the situation as worrisome, the police sergeant said that between January and July last year there were 18 cases of juvenile delinquency but the number climbed to 40 for the same period this year.

He said three children were held for firearms possession last year, rising to four for the same period this year.

There was also a jump in the number of 11 to 16-year-olds using firearms, from no cases last year to seven this year, while those involved in robbery climbed from seven last year to 13 this year.

“If you have children in this age range committing robberies, you would understand that it is a learned behaviour, and if that is what they are learning, that is what they will continue [to do] . . . Research consistently shows that children or adolescents who become involved in delinquency, the likelihood that they will become involved in adult criminality increases significantly,” the officer told those gathered for the event at the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union’s Belmont Street auditorium.

He warned that Trinidad and Tobago, which has already recorded over 335 murders so far this year, faced a similar situation with delinquent youth before crime escalated to the current levels and stressed that “if we are not careful in this country our adolescents who are engaging in delinquency would become involved in hardcore criminality.”

The RBPF officer also referred to other recent incidents involving students posting violent scene on social media, declaring that in recent times “this present generation has gone crazy.”

“We have girls under the age of 16 who are posting pictures on the social media in possession of firearms. All of these are instances of crime and violence that if we do not monitor carefully, we would be in trouble,” Cobbler stressed.

The six-member panel also included Pastor Fitz Joseph; criminologist Yolande Forde; attorney Steve Gollop; medical doctor Michael Charles; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture Ruth Blackman.

6 Responses to Troubled teens

  1. Peachesnaddy Brown
    Peachesnaddy Brown October 17, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Children live what they learn an its sad to see the youths of this country heading down a rocky road tears in my eyes……i say if this is the way they want to go start taking them down Mr officer instead of locking them up they are all cowards if they serve no purpose on this land destroy them or they will destroy the youths with purpose trust mi u c how they kill that 59 yr old man ????

  2. Goldengirl109 October 17, 2015 at 8:38 am

    As a teacher, I have long come to the conclusion that these individuals that we are dealing with can only be defined as children based on their age and that is the only factor. Their attitudes and behaviour certainly do not reflect those of children. As the Sergeant said it is a very worrying situation and if it is not addressed and curtailed now only God knows what will happen to Barbados.

  3. nb October 17, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I agree with u mr brown something drastic needs to b done r not the situation is going to get the thing is they only get about $20 an the guy lives in the same village as them i know two of the guys cause we grew up in the same area.when they finish rob an stab the guy went on the block showing off how they now juck up a man an rob him not knowing he was dead there,s another one still on the loose k*** k*** but he said he isnt turning himself in.he even curse his father so bad two nights ago but my bet is that the cops will have to take him sad we need to pray for our young people because all isnt losss their.s hope.

  4. jrsmith October 17, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I blame the politicians, for all of our problems, we trust in them ,they failed us, they divide, they threat us like fools, then in tern the people lock themselves into party politics , not even considering ,what they have done voting only for the party.

    This sergeant, where was he in the past year ,why now this issue of our young criminals, awaken him and some others, is this because its getting too close to certain areas and certain people who are protected. he should call on the priminister and the attorney general ,asking them some question to get answers.

    A lot of parents is also to be blame ,because they know what criminal activity they kids are up to, but they are benefiting from the same acts ,so that carries no concern to them.
    Some parents as well, would realize they kids are bad behaving and if the teacher or the school head had to reprimand that kid whether boy or girl , they attitude would be in many cases wanting to assaulting the teacher.

    Dear Mr. police officer, we want you to challenge ,the priminister, the attorney general, your commissioner , if you could find one, then you show them and us bajans what you would do to stop this madnesss in Barbados. As for Trinidad, that’s Trinidad, this is Barbados , 2 different islands, everything completely different, try not shift Barbados problems ,solve our problems.

    Most people in the region were taking shot at the English priminister , as to the prison building in Jamaica, but we all must think ,because the way how crime is creeping up on us we will all need some more prisons.

  5. Ann October 17, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    The children are not the root of the problem; they learn it from somewhere. We the adults of the country stop casting blame on these children and check our behavior and manners in which we do things. Set the examples, children learn from they see not what you say. The children are the end products, so who make the products, the society at large. When the government decided to take the solid foundation ( Bible) from schools what did they expect.

  6. BOBO THE SAME CLOWN October 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    If these so called children want to act as though they are adults ,they should be treated like adults by the courts.When these young people are found to be indulging in all kinds of adult activities treat them like adults .


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