British Virgin Islands

Monday, Apr 19, 2021

Police launch ‘Clean The Streets’ operation to stem firearm crimes

Police launch ‘Clean The Streets’ operation to stem firearm crimes

In the wake of four deaths - some of which have been linked to the use of firearms in the BVI - the police say they last week launched a ‘Clean the Streets’ operation to reassure the community and quell the recent rise in firearm-related incidents.

A press release said four teams of officers from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were deployed on a Roll-and-Search as well as on mobile and foot patrols early last week.

They covered commercial centres and primarily cash-based entities during business hours. According to the police, the law enforcement teams are providing the needed reassurance to businesses and are giving intelligence support to cops who work behind the scenes.

Although traffic and drug offenders are the only arrests that have been made so far, the Joint Task Force — which consists of police, Customs and Immigration officers — will also join the operation in the coming weeks to quell the recent rise in firearm-related incidences.

BVI experiencing a sporadic spell

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Jacqueline Vanterpool said while the BVI generally enjoy months where there are no serious incidents, the community sometimes experiences sporadic spells.

“Fortunately we have long periods where gun-related violence is virtually non-existent. Then we have a brief spell where persons, feeling confident and bold after having acquired a firearm, commit robberies for short-term gain. Frequently, the individuals are either caught or simply stop because there is very little long-term profit in such activities,” she explained

She warned residents that firearms become more dangerous when they fall into the hands of the few who are volatile and unstable which likely played a factor in the recent gun-related deaths.

“There are individuals with hot-tempers and impulses in any number of households within our community. A firearm in that mix is a dangerous thing. The sad thing is, the household knows when there is a weapon in the mix and remains silent. If this mindset does not change, we will continue to have these outbreaks. We have to treat firearms like we would any deadly virus. Get it out of the house and out of circulation as soon as possible,” she said.

Public participation invited

Acting DCP Vanterpool is inviting the public to join in the RVIPF ‘Clean the Streets’ Operation to rid the territory of illegal firearms.

“We are asking the public to help us to bring an end to this violence. If you know anyone who has or is carrying an illegal firearm or where one is being hidden, help by calling and pointing us in the right direction. We will do the rest,” she said.

Persons with information of persons carrying illegal weapons can call the RVIPF Intelligence Unit at 368-9339.


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