Mon­taque hails Neigh­bour­hood Watch pro­gramme

Jamaica Gleaner - - RURAL EXPRESS - Ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

PORT MARIA, St Mary: MIN­IS­TER OF Na­tional Se­cu­rity Robert Mon­tague has hailed the na­tional Neigh­bour­hood Watch pro­gramme as the most cru­cial com­po­nent of the Gov­ern­ment’s plan to re­duce crime and vi­o­lence.

Speak­ing at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, held in Port Maria, St Mary, last week­end, Mon­tague said the di­rec­tor of safety and se­cu­rity in schools in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Co­leridge Minto, had been sent to St James to tackle the cor­rec­tion be­tween the ex­cep­tional lev­els of crime in and the high num­ber of school dropouts in the par­ish.

He also noted that do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ac­counts for 37 per cent of the coun­try’s mur­ders, and urged pa­trons to im­me­di­ately down­load the Stay Alert mo­bile phone app, which en­ables users to send free videos, au­dio record­ings, and mes­sages to the po­lice anony­mously.

Af­ter the con­fer­ence, Mon­tague told Ru­ral Xpress: “It’s very im­por­tant for me to be here to rea­son and share and hear from the mem­bers of the neigh­bour­hood watch groups, who are vol­un­teers do­ing their civic in­ter­est, hav­ing an in­ter­est to pro­tect and safe­guard their com­mu­ni­ties, peo­ple who want to see bet­ter for their com­mu­ni­ties.

THE SO­CIAL NORMS

“The Neigh­bour­hood Watch movement is the most im­por­tant el­e­ment of our crime-fight­ing strat­egy. It’s all about en­gage­ment at the com­mu­nity level be­cause that’s where the crime is. This is where the prevention and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion will come from.

This is where the so­cial norms are taught in the com­mu­ni­ties, and this is the level where the in­tel­li­gence will be gar­nered. The po­lice and Gov­ern­ment can’t do every­thing, so this is a fo­rum where the vol­un­teers can play their part, reach out and help to build, be­cause we have to start on the ground.”

Fol­low­ing the con­fer­ence, which fea­tured a pre­sen­ta­tion on vol­un­teer­ing by for­mer Unite for Change di­rec­tor Co­ral CrewNoble, Del­roy Dob­son was elected as the Na­tional Neigh­bour­hood Watch Coun­cil’s new pres­i­dent, while Claudel Robin­son and Ho­race Nel­son will serve as first and sec­ond vice-pres­i­dents re­spec­tively.

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