Nassau, Bahamas (March 9, 2015)-- A five-day course on social crime prevention will be taught to a cadre of 20 police inspectors, community leaders and government officials from the Ministry of Education, Justice and other agencies involved in prevention of youth violence. This is part of a collaborative effort between the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), the U.S. State Department and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) under the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP). This course will be led by three facilitators who were accredited to teach about and mentor others in the implementation of social crime prevention practices in the community. These practices seek to address the root causes of crime, whether they are social, environmental or otherwise.
The accredited facilitators will focus on the risk factors that frequently lead youth to become involved in crime and violence, as well as protective factors that can be put in place to prevent it. In addition, they will look at specific techniques meant to help participants improve their ability to work with youth, their families and the communities they live in. Emphasis will be made on improving participants’ communication and leadership skills, as well as their ability to apply specific approaches that enhance planning, information sharing and evidenced-based programming.
The program will also highlight the importance of interagency collaboration in social crime prevention. By working more effectively across police and other justice sector agencies, as well as in close collaboration with schools and communities, officials can more appropriately respond to and prevent crime and violence among youth.
The cornerstone of this course will involve significant stress on developing community action plans. These will allow participants to identify an issue that a particular community is facing, and specific solutions for addressing that concern. Once created, these action plans are meant to be adapted in collaboration with community members and youth, as stakeholders in the process. RAPP will be working closely with course participants on the successful implementation and evaluation of select action plans after their design. They might include public campaigns to address crime and violence, clean-up a neighborhood area, or work with youth on targeted recreational, learning, vocational and/or other activities.
As mentioned previously, this course is part of the broader Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP), which aims to build mutual trust between the police, the government, and Bahamian youth. The RAPP effort falls under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). Local partners include the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, The Royal Bahamas Police Force, The Royal Bahamas Defense Force, The Bahamas Bar Association, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, The Ministry of Education’s Guidance Department, civil society organizations, the business sector and youth groups. In the near future, it is expected that the course will be rolled out for a number of different groups of individuals from these agencies who specialize in social crime prevention.
According to the RAPP Coordinator Nekisha Rolle, “the Resistance and Prevention Program will provide opportunities for greater collaboration and partnerships with Bahamian communities and the police. It aims to strengthen relationships and foster deliberate and helpful dialogues and is a welcomed necessity that will assist in our fight against crime in the Bahamas. RAPP brings a greater focus on Bahamian youth through enhancing their capacity and knowledge of the law, with the intent to change their attitudes and behaviors.
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2013, it helped more than 10 million people in 23 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname and Honduras, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) advises the President, Secretary of State, other bureaus in the Department of State, and other departments and agencies within the U.S. Government on the development of policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime. INL programs seek to reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States; and to minimize the impact of international crime on the United States and its citizens. http://www.state.gov/j/inl/
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is a regional security partnership between the United States and the nations of the Caribbean to combat the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. The United States, CARICOM member nations, and the Dominican Republic are improving citizen safety throughout the Caribbean by working together to: substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice.