Pubdate: Tue, 19 Oct 2004
Source: Virgin Islands Daily News, The (VI)
Copyright: 2004 Virgin Islands Daily News


A task force of local and federal law enforcement agencies is having
success in stemming a surge in violent crime that is affecting the
entire territory.

Last week Territorial Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. and Police
Commissioner Elton Lewis announced eight arrests and the seizure of
$25,000 in illegal drugs, along with several weapons. It was the
result of an alliance of federal and local law enforcement officers
that took to the streets, patrolling high-crime areas and establishing
traffic checkpoints.

The alliance includes personnel from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforce-ment
Administration, U.S. Marshals Service and local and federal officers
assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force -A

Both Chief Francis and Commissioner Lewis have said the community must
help law enforcement officials by providing information about crime.

This is a territory of 108,000 residents. The number of people
involved in these serious crimes is indeed small. But this small
number of people is disrupting the lives of everyone who lives in the
territory as well as the thousands of tourists who visit our islands
each month.

Every Virgin Islands resident must take responsibility when it comes
to "Everybody knows..." Perhaps not "everybody knows" who is
responsible for certain illegal activity, but it is certainly true
that somebody knows. And it is his or her responsibility to contact
law enforcement officials and give them any information that can help
solve a crime or help stop potential criminal activity.

If the citizens of this territory do not take the responsibility to
protect this community, then the citizens have themselves to blame for
crime that becomes uncontrollable.

In August the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with
HIDTA launched two hotlines for people to call and report information
on the so-called "Commission," a local crime organization that is
believed to be responsible for several drive-by shootings and violent

In addition, the V.I. Police Department has a confidential "crime
line" for people to report criminal activity.
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