HAVING two months go by without a single homicide being recorded must feel like a soft feather in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force’s cap. After all, the standard by which many Saint Lucians measure the Force’s work seems to rest squarely on the number of homicides recorded annually.
While there might not be any empirical evidence to suggest just what might be responsible for the recent homicide trend, one can imagine law enforcement pointing to the number of community outreach programmes that serve to foster greater partnerships between the police and citizens.
Another school of thought suggests that people are finding more amicable ways of dealing with conflicts. This by no means suggests that there are no longer people among us waiting for the next opportunity to do some God-forbidden deed to us; it just means that we need to be on guard for our personal safety and tempers. There are others, too, who chalk the recent “homicide-less” period up to incessant periods of prayers.
In any event, one homicide recorded is too many for this nation to bear. Being small in geography, the possibility of any of us being related to a homicide victim in any way is high. A nation suffers whenever a life is snatched away by crime, especially one as small and close-knit as ours. Hence, we must consider the past two-month stretch without a recorded homicide a blessing. Sometimes zero of anything is the best thing.
In January, Police Commissioner Vernon Francois touted the consecutive four-year decline in the island’s homicide rate, moving from a record 52 in 2011 to 34 in 2014. Francois noted that given that trend, police intend to strengthen their resolve to building closer relationships with communities in areas such as sports and other social activities in order get the police’s “No To Violence” message across.
We’re now in March and one would hope that this homicide drought continues even as the island is experiencing a short supply of water due to the weather patterns. This pattern of no homicides must serve as a basis from which we all should reflect on how change is possible if only our attitudes change.