Ryan Assing, the young Trinidadian who was featured in our documentary on social crime prevention, is still fighting for justice and helping to prevent crime. While he was a participant in the program, Ryan and his fellow students took part in mock trials and after-school activities.
"The experience was very nice," he said. "People saw the documentary and actually know about the RAPP program now."
Despite a population of just 1.3 million, the nation of Trinidad and Tobago has more than 100 gangs. It also has the tenth highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations. PADF is partnering with the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to implement the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP), a crime prevention initiative that involves collaboration with law enforcement agencies, government institutions and community groups in Trinidad, the Bahamas and Suriname.
Ryan has finished school, and he's working at a tool store and service center. He's not formally involved in the RAPP program anymore, but the program has left its impact on Ryan and his friends.
"We learned what the justice system is all about," says Ryan, whose brother is still fighting legal battles from behind bars. "We gained knowledge about how the court system is run and how to deal with the crime."
The RAPP program was designed to identify lasting solutions to citizen security in the Caribbean by building trust between police and citizens. Ryan took part in mock trials that showed young people how the court system works. He was also a leader among his peers and classmates. He believes that social crime prevention should have an integral place in Trinidadian society.
"Yes, it can lessen crime," said Ryan. "We need more programs in the community, more dialogue with the youth, more social activities going on. All that could break down crime."
Ryan is still pursuing a career in community organization. He's currently hoping to strengthen his community by working with other organizations that bridge the gap between citizens and politicians.
"The documentary was about me," explained Ryan, "but many people gained from it." He hopes to continue to be a part of the positive change in Trinidad and the Caribbean.