PLP & OBA On Crime Reduction Measures

August 16, 2012

[Updated] After the PLP said that Jeff Baron’s idea to introduce crime mapping to Bermuda is not new and the OBA have yet to offer any new ideas or vision, the OBA responded saying the Government has “presided over the worst period of violent crime Bermuda’s history and continues to make excuses for that record by attacking the Opposition for not giving them more ideas.”

OBA candidate and Spokesperson on National Security Jeff Baron recently suggested that the Bermuda Police Service should implement and publicize street-level ‘crime maps’ showing all crimes reported and their outcomes.

The PLP noted that the BPS has already announced plans to improve its Geographical Information Systems [GIS or "crime mapping"] and said “when it comes to crime, we still don’t know what the OBA plan to do. They have yet to offer any new ideas or vision.”

Mr. Baron is currently attending a course on security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and could not be reached, however an OBA spokesperson responded saying “The Government has presided over the worst period of violent crime Bermuda’s history and continues to make excuses for that record by attacking the Opposition for not giving them more ideas; the same Opposition whose strong advocacy for Operation Ceasefire pushed the Government to adopt the ‘Safe Streets’ programme for Bermuda.

“And this is the same Government that for years tried to wash its hands of responsibility for policing, saying it was the responsibility of the Governor; the same Government that cut the Police budget in the face of murderous street violence, and still underfunds the BPS to the point that it continues operating some 15% below authorized manpower levels.”

The full statement from the PLP is below:

There’s one problem with Jeff Baron’s idea to introduce crime mapping to Bermuda. His idea is not new.

The BPS has already announced plans to improve its Geographical Information Systems (GIS or “crime mapping.”). This is just one of eight technology based solutions the BPS is pursuing in its current Strategic Plan 2012-2015. The Plan is easily available online at www.bps.bm.

The OBA is still yet to come up with a single new idea for making Bermuda safer.

In the meantime, the PLP is funding new technologies and funding new investigative methods and working with police and making sure and steady progress on the crime issue.

When it comes to crime, we still don’t know what the OBA plan to do. They have yet to offer any new ideas or vision.

The full statement from the OBA is below:

The Government has presided over the worst period of violent crime Bermuda’s history and continues to make excuses for that record by attacking the Opposition for not giving them more ideas; the same Opposition whose strong advocacy for Operation Ceasefire pushed the Government to adopt the ‘Safe Streets’ programme for Bermuda.

And this is the same Government that for years tried to wash its hands of responsibility for policing, saying it was the responsibility of the Governor; the same Government that cut the Police budget in the face of murderous street violence, and still underfunds the BPS to the point that it continues operating some 15% below authorized manpower levels.

The OBA has met regularly with the BPS to keep abreast of what is required to support the men and women of the Service. We have consistently called for Government to properly support investment in new technologies to support Police operations. Its vague statement this evening about funding ‘new technologies’ and ‘new investigative techniques” with no specifics speaks volumes.

We will leave it up to the people of Bermuda to decide if this Government has done a good job on public safety or not.

For the record, since the first of this month Bermuda has experienced:

  • Two separate stabbings.
  • A man beaten and robbed in front of his kids.
  • A missing person turning into a murder investigation.
  • Sexual assaults verified as on the rise.
  • The head of the Women’s Resource Centre saying the BPS figures don’t reflect the extent of the problem in Bermuda.
  • A female cyclist robbed.
  • Shots fired near John Smith’s Bay.

And that’s just in the last 2 weeks.

We’re not sure how those victims feel about the PLP statement that “thanks in part to the PLP’s reforms, Bermuda is getting even safer than it already is.”

Update 10.46am: The PLP issued a second statement in response saying the OBA “continue to ignore the fact that overall crimes were down 10.7% in the last quarter,” and said the Opposition offers no ideas and no solutions to the crime problem and “try to scare and mislead Bermudians about crime.”

The full statement from the PLP is below:

It is unfortunate that Jeff Baron and the One Bermuda Alliance continue to ignore the fact that overall crimes were down 10.7% in the last quarter. That’s a remarkable statistic and shows that sure and steady progress is being made.

The OBA should speak to Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Wright who said, “the long term trend of total crime is continuing downward. The second quarter for 2012 is below average for the previous 12 months and it represents the lowest quarter in the last five years.”

While there’s no doubt that more work needs to be done, it’s clear that sure and steady progress is being made. The OBA continues to try to scare and mislead Bermudians about crime; they continue to offer no ideas and no solutions to the crime problem. In fact, the one idea the OBA has suggested, crime mapping, is already being actively pursued by the Bermuda Police Service!

It is unfortunate that even through the OBA’s game of blaming the PLP for all things wrong in the world, they offer no ideas and no solutions to Bermudians.

Bermudians do not want a government that constantly attacks and speaks negatively about Bermuda. Bermudians want a government that believes in the people of Bermuda and stands strong on the issues that matter.

We are confident that the electorate understands those who are standing strong for Bermudians, and those who are working for their own political interests.

Update 3.03pm: Mr Baron responded to the PLP’s latest statement pointing out that while the police indicated their intent to use crime mapping, his specific proposal was to publicize through the internet all crimes reported and their outcomes, with the crime maps updated each month instead of each quarter. Neither one of these ideas are in the BPS 2012-2015 strategic plan.

Mr Baron’s full statement follows below:

It’s disappointing that PLP spokesmen are trying to undermine what we believe to be a very useful idea to helping people deal with the challenge of crime in their communities.

Crime mapping has been used around the world successfully for quite some time. It is not a new idea, and we never tried to characterize it as such.

Our Police Service indicated in its strategic plan 2012-2015, the intent to implement mobile computing, which includes crime mapping.

My specific proposal was to use crime mapping technology to publicize through the internet all crimes reported and their outcomes, with the crime maps updated each month instead of each quarter.

Neither one of these ideas are in the BPS 2012-2015 strategic plan.

Our aim in making this information-sharing proposal is to strengthen the working relationship between Police and the public – the most important partnership in policing.

Crime mapping data kept for exclusive use by the Police does little to help the public get answers to questions and concerns about crime in their neighbourhoods. What’s important and new in this is not the crime mapping technology itself but the SHARING of information with the public.

Bermuda needs to find new ways to identify and engage communities to better identify problems and potential solutions, especially when it comes to public safety. Making crime mapping data available to the public can help people understand and find out what’s going on around them and also, through increased interaction with the public, help the BPS become more effective.

That’s all we were proposing – something to help our community deal with crime. That the PLP should see it as something to attack suggests their first thoughts are about politics and not the actual merit of an idea such as, in this case, finding ways to better protect the public.

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Comments (30)

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  1. hmmm says:

    So is Baron saying all these crimes are due to the PLP government??? This guy is a joke.

    • Come Correct says:

      Mr. Baron is currently attending a course on security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and could not be reached, however an OBA spokesperson responded saying…Did you even read it? or just a skim.

      • hmmm says:

        Then I trust Mr Baron will clarify his position and correct the misinformation by the OBA spokesperson.

      • VOTe says:

        You need to vote and make sure you don’t get trapped and vote back into “power” the original OBA gangsters. They are the original gangsters, check their ancestors’ resumes: Pirates, buccaneers, bootleggers – you get my drift.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Well, yes I guess he is. With good reason
      Crime under the PLP is way up. The PLP is soft on crime. They set the policy in court through a politically appointed Attorney General.

      Want different results? Vote the PLP out.

    • Zombie Apolcalypse says:

      Jonathan Smith spends his time telling us that crime is down.

      So one party is telling us there is ‘no problem’, and the other one is offering ideas to cotrol the problem. It isn’t a hard choice, frankly.

    • Joonya says:

      As it states Jeff was not available to comment due to being on security training (rather than going on some useless hobnobbing seminar on the taxpayer’s dollar).
      It was an OBA rep that mentioned the facts. Read their above statement especially the secong half of it. All fact.
      And once again, the clowns in charge are looking for solutions from opposition. Sorta like many of the Bermudian workforce..collect a salary and expect others to do the hard work and make the hard decisions.
      Only in Bermuda.

    • Unbelievable says:

      I would bet my life that out of every 100 violent crimes commited on a daily basis, only 1 or 2 are reported.
      I know personally of SEVERAL that have not reported serious incidents because they have been threated with death/serious injury to them or their family if they do!!!
      SO THE POLICE CAN SAY WHAT THEY LIKE. IT STILL DOESN’T CHANGE WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING ON THE STREETS!!!!

  2. Come Correct says:

    Bring in the B.O.P.E. and give them a map.

  3. RUFKM says:

    OK. OBA you done jumped the shark!

    Still with the lies about cutting police budgets.

    And, OBA spokesman may want to read the constitution where it states that the Governor controls the police!

    But good to see the OBA can release these US Style responses!

    • Claudio says:

      So why is PLP claiming that under a PLP Government crime has gone down? When crime is up “The police is under the Governor’s control” when crime goes down “It’s down under a PLP Government”.

      DO YOU THINK THE PEOPLE ARE FOOLS?

    • Zombie Apolcalypse says:

      Ah right. So the “remarkable statistics” showing “sure and steady progress” being made in crime reduction is all because of the governor, because he constitutionally controls the police.

      Ok, thanks for clarifying that.

    • Argosy says:

      The Bda Constitution also states that the Governor is the Head of Government.

      So…..what’s the Cog getting paid to do????

  4. Angry Tax Payer says:

    lol. Yes the police answer to the governor, but, its the government that holds the pays them. Isn’t that an interesting situation. So who do the police really listen to? The governor or the paymaster?

    • What Options says:

      You can’t be serious asking that question.

      OK, Taxpayer, you pay the Governor, does he listen to you or does he listen to the UK. We are in a colonial relationship, unless you are suggesting that the government stop funding the police until they listen to them.

  5. it only hurts when I breath says:

    I guess the Peee Ellll Peee did not get the memo………….Erh guys you are actually the Government and therefore in charge………or supposed to be in charge. Unfortunately the light is on but NO BODY is home.

  6. Jim Bean says:

    if the governor control the police why does plp take credit wehn crime is down? when it is up they blame the governor!!

  7. so-n-so says:

    In the meantime, the PLP is funding new technologies and funding new investigative methods and working with police and making sure and steady progress on the crime issue.

    can you please expand and expatiate our knowledge??

  8. Shaking the Head says:

    I notice the PLP did not respond to the claim by the OBA that the BPS is 15% below authorised manpower levels. Presumably therefore it is. That shortfall may result in the BPS to make a decision that since they are short of person power they haven’t the resources to arrest people for certain acts; to not issue speeding tickets, to not respond to reports of burglaries. Bingo, crime % is down.
    Certainly we have been advised stop and searches have been drastically reduced. Is there a breakdown to show where the overall 10% reduction has been made?

    • What Options says:

      Crock of crap.. Police get a boatload of money. You should ask them why they bought a new gym instead of paying for overtime.

      • Zombie Apolcalypse says:

        A new gym? Was that part of the mythical $1.4bn in infrastructure?

  9. Bermudian says:

    Vote OBA!!!!! Its not hard to see why crime is up….people are broke, they have babies to feed and bills to pay. In addition, why would the youth have any respect for the law, when their leaders fight amongst themselves, their Govt. refuse to do drug testing (wonder why) and PLP’s broken promise that they would do what is best for the PEOPLE. The PLP have failed and will continue to fail because they havn’t a clue on how to resolve our problems. The Bermudian people need guidance and leadership, both of which the PLP lack.

  10. terry says:

    Read the Constitution my friends.
    The Governor does not and never has ‘run’ the Police. It falls under his responsibilities as part of our Colinial Heritage.
    Some of your really just talk garbage.
    The Commissioner reports to the Governor, the ‘Cop’ on the street.
    So much spin here and everywhere.
    If you don’t know then just shut up.

  11. What Options says:

    This Baron guy is a clown.. I don’t think you attack anyone Baron.. Read the statement from your Party… if that ain’t an attack then the sky is red.

  12. curious says:

    Given the Government reaction – they are clearly embarrassed at Mr. Baron highlighting this initiative and they are desperate to claim it. Worse, in doing so- they reveal their own short-sightedness and lack of innovation by negating the key points he makes regarding public empowerment related to crime. SMH.

  13. Hmmmmm says:

    Please tell me that this campaign isn’t going to be like this? This is painful to watch this ping pong over a “nothing” issue. Crime is down. “It’s the economy, stupid!”