Gang Initiatives Update

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Caines, JP. MP. said, “Change comes from planning and the committed implementation of that plan. The Government has devised a thorough, multipronged and disciplined plan of action to address the antisocial behavior in Bermuda and I have complete confidence in its success.

“I understand and appreciate the opinion of community activists and will always welcome their support, and be available to work with them. However they do not have access to the overall ministerial plan, which includes the gang violence strategy, key goals, objectives, deliverables, and the matrix of accountability for the Gang Violence Reduction Team.

“Government’s plan includes the involvement of key community stakeholders and activists, along with the Bermuda Police Service and other organizational bodies that are supported by intelligence and data.

“The implementation of this plan does not include responding to every comment made by the public. Our focus is as it should be, on the implementation of the solution for the betterment of Bermuda.”

The following is a brief synopsis of the many agencies involved in the eradication of antisocial behavior in Bermuda followed by our year over year success to date.

Inter-Agency Gang Enforcement Team (IGET)

  • The Inter-Agency Gang Enforcement Team (IGET) working group uses all available resources, information and intelligence to identify persons, locations and groups, who are deemed to be the greatest risk to our community through their association or connection with criminal gangs.
  • Chaired by Assistant Commissioner Antoine Daniels
    • Monthly Meetings with Bermuda Police Service, Customs, Immigration, Department of Education, Court Services, Department of Child and Family Services, Gang Violence Reduction Team.

Community Outreach

The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) maintains a connection to the community through direct interaction with at risk individuals. This is achieved by fostering positive, trusting relationships in their environment with the goal of building pro-social connections.

The Outreach team is doing the following to reduce support incidents happening in the community.

  • Meeting with targeted individuals to reduce community violence by exploring tensions, deescalating tensions, mediating incidents and providing individual coaching.
  • Case Managing Individuals and connecting them to social support services
  • Supporting individual and community crisis situations

Prison Outreach

Prison outreach allows for the members of the VRU to provide avenues of support for incarcerated violent offenders. The VRU may offer therapeutic services, liaise with prison staff in assisting with the inmate’s rehabilitation and provide an affirming resource that may assist with their wellbeing while incarcerated and also their eventual reintegration into society.

Coordinated Crisis Response Team

The Crisis Team works to restore peace in the community and assist family members, friends or witnesses in the immediate aftermath of violent incidents.

Triage Services

Members of the community affected by violent crime often reach out to the VRU for assistance. The VRU attempts to directly address the problems or concerns of the individual(s) and connect them to the appropriate support services.

Redemption Farm

The Redemption Farm is still in the development stages and the therapeutic farming initiative will commence in 2019. It will provide:

(1)          Successful engagement of at risk young men from the Central Parishes in a socially restorative, incentivized employment training program.

(2)          Practical training while incorporating vocational skills through various forms of farming.

(3)          Case management services, real time entrepreneurship training, life skills, personal development workshops and job readiness workshops.

School Initiative

Since September 2018 the Gang Violence Reduction Team has been working with the Administration and Student Services teams at Cedarbridge Academy and Berkeley Institute, alongside the Bermuda Police Service (BPS), to provide support services for at-risk students.

Services such as:

  • Incident Management Support

The team works with the schools’ administration and the BPS to create plans to ensure student safety for Berkeley students around gang affiliated incidents.

  • Mediation Services

The team has coordinated several mediation sessions aimed at reducing tensions between students and rival gangs within the island’s senior schools.

  • Individual Student Support Session

The team offers individual sessions to young men known to participate in anti-social behavior.

  • Group Sessions

The team is currently delivering a 10 week pilot Excellence Programme at Cedarbridge Academy. The programme focuses on incident mediation, understanding risk levels, and encouraging self-reflection and introspection.

 

Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.)

The GREAT ‎programme is a youth educational awareness initiative that teaches life-skill lessons to address anti-social behavior and crime in Bermuda.

  • Last school year the program trained 513 students in 22 Schools (4 Middle Schools and 15 Primary Schools)
  • This summer four new Customs Officers were trained as facilitators to teach in the schools.
  • The facilitators are currently running programs in 6 Schools around the island.

 

Firearm Statistics:

2016

2017

2018

Confirmed firearms incidents, Unconfirmed Firearms Incidents, Recovery of a firearm

 

82

 

49

27

Firearm Fatalities/Injuries

14

9

3

Violent Crime Arrests

22

 

22

24

Violent Crime (recorded offences)

26

 

23

23

Serious Assault

46

37

32

 

 

In summary, these statistics reveal that since 2016 firearms incidents, injuries and fatalities have decreased by approximately 40% year over year.

Minister Caines continued, “We are committed to our gang reduction strategy. This includes working towards rehabilitating our incarcerated young men and continuing school programmes in support of vulnerable and at risk individuals. We will continue working with our community stakeholders to help young men secure employment. Those persons affected by multigenerational non addressed trauma will be provided the necessary resources and we will continue to work with the Bermuda Police Service to ensure the proper policing strategies are in place.

“Our gang violence problem did not start overnight and will not be resolved overnight. We are steadfast in our belief, that if we are to see an end to violence in Bermuda, our community must rise and play a part in the process. All churches, community clubs, fraternities, sororities, the LGBTQ community, and most importantly family, I challenge you all to step up and be part of the solution.

“Whether through mentorship, job training, big brothers and sisters or chatting with the men on the wall, everyone has the opportunity to tackle gun violence and it is our responsibility to do so. 

“Through love and the strengthening of family ties, we must address past traumas and break the cycle of family dysfunction to help ensure the trend of antisocial behavior does not continue with our children.

“Lastly, our women cannot raise our children alone, we need a significant number of our men to step up and accept the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters!

“Together, we can end gun violence in Bermuda. Let’s stop assigning blame and start working together to change the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”

 

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