In keeping with its 2017 Manifesto which calls for the establishment of a National Neighborhood Watch Council, the Free National Movement Government unveiled a comprehensive plan to prevent and reduce the incidence of crime throughout the country. Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Hubert A. Minnis delivered the keynote address and officially launched the National Neighborhood Watch Council (NNWC) during a ceremony at Paul Farquharson Conference Centre at Police Headquarters on Monday, April 30, 2018. The initiative is spearheaded by the Ministry of National Security and Neighborhood Watch Bahamas, whose collective goal is to help Bahamians make their families and residential areas safer from crime. “Tonight, with the overwhelming support of numerous stakeholders, we are now delivering on this promise. “The safety and security of the citizens and residents of The Bahamas remain a top priority of my government,” the Prime Minister said before a wide cross-section of the community. The initiative is also based on one of the principles of Sir Robert Peel, regarded as the ‘Father of Policing,’ who said, “the police are simply members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” The Prime Minister touted the NNWC “as an important aspect of our comprehensive plan to prevent and reduce crime.” He called on communities to play a more active and coordinated role in crime prevention in order for the nation to become even safer. Hence, the NNWC is a platform through which citizens and residents may be involved in devising and participating in activities that strengthen the security of their respective communities.
The Council, which is made up of neighborhood watch group leaders and civil society, is designed to provide evidence-based crime prevention support, and guidance, to existing neighborhood watch programmes. The Council will also facilitate the establishment and strengthening of new neighborhood watch programmes throughout the country — including the inner city communities of New Providence. “This programme will also bridge the gap between the police, and the community, in partnership, to address crime-related issues affecting neighborhoods,” the Prime Minister said. Each police division has a Liaison Officer who will provide logistical support to the various crime watch groups within that particular division. The Council will formulate guidelines that will govern the management and operations of partnerships between the police and the community, explore the introduction of additional CCTV’s and citizens patrols along with other crime prevention measures, partner with existing community youth groups, and encourage the establishment of initiatives geared toward at-risk youth, amongst other things. The Prime Minister noted that the overall crime figures for the year are trending downward. This, due to the carefully thought-out and deliberate changes in the way law enforcement officials operates. He also advised the individual crime watch associations not to take matters into their own hands. But, be vigilant and contact the police regarding any suspicious activity. “With proper organization and support from the public, the Council has the potential to become a powerful crime-fighting tool, providing law enforcement officers with information, and intelligence that may help to prevent and detect crime,” the Prime Minister said.