n photo by sirkka huish
crime prevention: From left, Detective Sergeant Terrance Maxwell, head of the Central Intelligence Unit, with Sergeant Scott Devine and Inspector Jerome Laws of the community action team, spoke to the public at last week’s Pembroke Parish Council meeting. 
* Photos by Sirkka Huish. Crime Prevention: From left, Detective Sergeant Terrance Maxwell, head of the Central Intelligence Unit, with Sergeant Scott Devine and Inspector Jerome Laws of the community action team, spoke to the public at last week’s Pembroke Parish Council meeting. 
n photo by sirkka huish
crime prevention: From left, Detective Sergeant Terrance Maxwell, head of the Central Intelligence Unit, with Sergeant Scott Devine and Inspector Jerome Laws of the community action team, spoke to the public at last week’s Pembroke Parish Council meeting. 
* Photos by Sirkka Huish. Crime Prevention: From left, Detective Sergeant Terrance Maxwell, head of the Central Intelligence Unit, with Sergeant Scott Devine and Inspector Jerome Laws of the community action team, spoke to the public at last week’s Pembroke Parish Council meeting. 
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Police say habitual offenders are not changing their ways because prison does nothing to rehabilitate them.

This is the view of Terrance Maxwell, head of the police’s Central Intelligence Unit, who said Westgate had a revolving door, with police officers arresting the same people “day in and day out”.

Frustrated officers see the same faces committing crimes from childhood through adulthood and into their senior years.

Detective Sergeant Maxwell said a small group is responsible for a “disproportionately large amount of crime”.

Nuisance

He explained that some criminals “just don’t want to change” and “don’t know how to operate in society”.

He told the story of a ­habitual offender who had been “a nuisance since he was a young lad” and who is now so old he is “barely physically capable” of walking up the stairs at Hamilton Police Station.

When asked why he kept offending, he replied: “It’s the only thing I know.”

Mr. Maxwell was speaking at last week’s Pembroke Parish Council meeting, where police and representatives of the Corporation of Hamilton answered questions from the public.

Louise Jackson, Shadow Health Minister, said she was not surprised that criminals keep re-offending because Westgate is “like a luxury hotel”.

But she said she has seen the cells in Hamilton’s new police/court building and that “people won’t want to go back there”.

She said they have “a cement bed, a toilet and that’s it”, adding: “It may sound barbaric but if that’s what it’s going to take.

“I am very anxious to clean this island up and get Bermuda back to the way it used to be.” Mr. Maxwell, who has been in the police for nearly 35 years, said it is “a very difficult job” because people expect officers to have all the answers.

He stressed that officers are working hard to “do all they can” to fight crime.

Police are working overtime to ensure extra patrols are visible on the streets, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Plain-clothed “decoys” are also “keeping an eye on the hot spots” and officers are carrying out stop and searches. Mr. Maxwell said: “Crime touches absolutely everyone on the island.

“We as a community have to take control. Failing to tell the police what we have seen has got to stop.

“We’ve got to stop this idea that we are being rats if we speak out. We need people to open their eyes, ears and mouths.”

Glenn Blakeney, Minister of Youth Affairs and Families, said it is sad that residents are getting desensitized to the violence.

He added: “If we are going to flip the page, it has to be a collective effort by the whole community.

“We have to get serious. We can’t look at it with words and no action.”

In response to a resident’s question about ­muggings on Pitt’s Bay Road, Mr. Maxwell said there are decoys in place but it is “the roll of the dice” as to whether they catch criminals in action.

Reassuring

Another resident asked: “What exactly are the ­police doing to make the people of St. Monica’s feel comfortable rather than just coming out when there’s been an incident?”

Police insisted they spend a lot of time reassuring members of the public and working with community groups to “break down the wall”. But it was pointed out that it has to be a joint effort.

Officers told how young people had promised to ­attend a recent police ­meeting but “three police officers were the only ­people to turn up”.

One woman said her mother lived in fear after two break-ins at her home.

She added: “People are fed up with dead-bolting their doors and sleeping with cricket bats next to them.

“These young people don’t respect their elders anymore.”

Another woman said: “We have had enough, we need more of a police ­presence.

One man added: “The only thing that will work is capital punishment.” 

One of the most recognizable faces on St. Monica’s Road has pleaded with the community to “love one another again”.

Butch ‘Art Mel’ Smith, who runs Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy, believes “people having to make the change” to stop the island’s spate of shootings.

He gave a heartfelt speech at the Pembroke Parish Council meeting about how our “island paradise had been taken from us” because people are putting money before lives.

Mr. Smith spoke openly to about 35 members of the public at West Pembroke School.

He said: “The problem is our love has grown cold.

“We don’t love each other any more, we don’t care about each other any more. Our community is dying.

“We have to remember who we are. We are our brothers’ keepers. The only way we are going to stop what is happening is if we all change.

“A lot of people are afraid to stand up for what is right. We need to change or the problem won’t go away.”

Mr. Smith said he had lost a cousin and several friends in recent shootings. He told how he could vividly remember seeing Kenwandee Robinson limping into a car with friend Mikey Adams after being shot in May 2009.

Mr. Smith said that Mr. Robinson, who died of his injuries, was “a really nice little guy who had his son with him every day”.

He added that he hated the way people pointed the finger at St. Monica’s Road because it is “a whole people problem”.

He corrects people in his eatery when they say “these guys up here are doing all this madness”.

Mr. Smith said: “They pinpoint St. Monica’s over and over again but we are not the bad guys. Everyone picks on St. Monica’s but we as people are the problem. We know what is going on but these are our cousins, brothers and friends so we ain’t doing nothing (sic) about it.

“St. Monica’s is a nice area and we need to take back our society.”

Mr. Smith believes “everything is about money nowadays” and people turn to illegal measures to get what they cannot afford.

He said drugs are “bringing too much money in”, adding: “We need to stop wanting what everyone else has.

“We need to focus on loving one another instead.

“There are so many murderers walking around our society but if one man can kill another and walk around the next day with a smile on his face, his heart is so cold, it’s very sad.”

Mr. Smith said we need to adopt old-fashioned family values so that parents know where their children are and what they are doing.

He added: “Families used to be close but they aren’t anymore. Children are too distant from their parents.

“We need to get in touch with one another again. That is what is missing from our society.”