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Crime went down 8% in year of Irma, 23% since 2013 – CoP Matthews

Commissioner of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Michael Matthews last Thursday, October 11, 2018, opened up to the British Virgin Islands on the happenings within the Police Force since hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO/File
A business in Road Town that was looted in 2017, according to information reaching this news site. Photo: VINO/File
A business in Road Town that was looted in 2017, according to information reaching this news site. Photo: VINO/File
Looters also allegedly struck businesses on the Tortola Pier Park in 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Looters also allegedly struck businesses on the Tortola Pier Park in 2017. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI: Commissioner of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) Michael B. Matthews last Thursday, October 11, 2018, opened up to the Virgin Islands on the happenings within the Police Force since hurricane Irma via a PSI Online Radio interview.

“It has been without a doubt one of the most challenging periods of my career, and I have no doubt that will be the same for a number of people,” the Commissioner said while reflecting on the past 12 months since the devastating hurricanes of 2017.

Absence of right messages

“Immediately after hurricane Irma, in the absence of the right messages going out, the void was filled with inaccuracies,” he said while talking about the down state of telecommunications during the period making way for untrue information to flood the press.

“Some of the first headlines we saw were crime spiralling out of control, mass looting, and police have lost control… Irma has created all these victims,” the commissioner said, reiterating that crime never spiralled out of control then and even now the VI remains one of the safest territories in the Caribbean.

“The local community got scared by these messages, it is understandable… we had to make some tough decisions and some of those decisions included arming police officers, which is never a decision I take lightly” he said.

At one point the local police had to turn to help from foreign forces to work the streets of the VI, however, that gave a level of security reassurance to the local community but the stories were still going out he said.

Irma not as bad

“Anywhere in the world where you had a massive disaster like we faced here… nobody had seen a hurricane like that hit the territory last year… the biggest ever recorded in the Atlantic, and that meant that we had to start from scratch” he said, but it was not as bad. 

The Commissioner mentioned that during planning for the response for the aftermath, they had planned for looting with the realisation that it was members of their own VI community performing these crimes.

“If we have another disaster of this scale, I would have to plan again for the potential of looting, and that’s the reality… the flip side of all of this is, did crime spiralled out of control? Crime actually went down in 2017, it was actually reduced to 8% when compared to previous year” commissioner Matthews said.   

Drop in crime rate

The commission said independent analyst confirmed, “since 2013, crime has been decreasing in the virgin islands… over the five year period we got a 23% drop in recorded crime,” he said.

That trend had continued since 2018 with a further 9% down in crime for August compared to the same period last year, “now these are the stories that require a lot of believing by the community because there’s mistrust out there and a lack of confidence in my office, but I understand the reasons why, but you can’t argue the figures over a measured length of time,” he said. 

The top cop also said that the force’s ability to detect crime is increasing, with 45% of people committing crimes in the territory captured, a figure that is considerably higher than other countries around the world. 

“The police service should not be doing things to the community… we should be doing things with the community… we have to be working hand in hand with the community,” the Commissioner of Police said

10 Responses to “Crime went down 8% in year of Irma, 23% since 2013 – CoP Matthews ”

  • Asking? (15/10/2018, 11:30) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    What happened to the young English lawyer who was caught with cocaine in his vehicle and his only concern was not to let his employer find out? Is he included in these statistics, or did he disappeared after Irma?
    • Hrmph (16/10/2018, 07:22) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      What happened to all the people caught looting on video. There were a couple of prosecutions after Irma and we were told that there were a lot more to come. The videos showed some high profile people looting - why weren’t there any proceedings?
  • Crime u talking bout (15/10/2018, 11:34) Like (32) Dislike (2) Reply
    We need know wa happened to pier park money n the high school wall money that’s the biggest crime in Tortola
  • @asking (15/10/2018, 11:35) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lots more at the white-collar level, but they are not targeted, only the low bearing fruits.
  • ... (15/10/2018, 11:48) Like (26) Dislike (3) Reply
    pure lies no drop in crime
  • Dimes (15/10/2018, 12:16) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    If people continue to drop dimes, it will go even lower.
  • Iconoclast (15/10/2018, 12:59) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    The RVIPF arrest 45 of a 100 alleged criminals (arrest does not neceassily equates to guilt) that equates to a 45% rate of arrest. This means that 55 or 55% of the culprits are not apprehended. In a college or university setting, 45% equates of an F, a failing grade. Nonetheless, a thumbs up is due to the RVIPF for its arrest and conviction record.

    Undoubtedly, statistics can be twisted and misleading; the glass can be seen as 1/2 full or 1/2 empty. The article suggests a 9% drop in crime through August. The question is what types of crime are decreasing? What is the rate for violent and property crimes? What is the rate for white collar crime relative to blue collar? What is the rate for persons of African descent vs persons of Western European descent? No need for anyone to go off like a rocket; I’m politically incorrect.
  • wize up (15/10/2018, 18:24) Like (27) Dislike (5) Reply
    drop in which crimes: government funds being mismanaged(no criminal conduct)
  • crime drops.. (16/10/2018, 14:05) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    ..because we stopped counting. Is there any traffic enforcement at all anymore? What was the point of painting Road Town orange, solid white lines in the road, the arrows at Bobby's roundabout? It beggars belief RBVIPF refuses to address the uninsured, unlicenced, helmetless scooter riders causing injury on a regular basis
  • Bohannon (19/10/2018, 07:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is laughable to say the least.


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