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2003-03-11 16:18:07

Bain Town Residents Welcome Anti-Crime Initiative

"it's a good idea because there's too much crime going on. You're not safe even in your own house," said one resident.

Many residents of Bain Town are optimistic that the extension of the Farm Road Project into their community would result in a reduction of crime, improved police-community relations and a cleaner environment.

Officials have announced the long-promised Bain Town project, an off spring of the programme that Prime Minister Perry Christie commissioned last year as a key component of his government's anti-crime effort.

Police and government authorities said that the Farm Road Project has been successful at cutting down on social ills in that area and they are hopeful that it would have the same effect in other areas like Bain Town, which have for a long time been plagued by criminal activity.

Sean Moss, a deacon at Mount Calvary Baptist Cathedral on Laird Street, said he welcomes the programme because "it's a must in Bain Town."

An area of concern, Mr. Moss said, is the number of young men who walk the streets idly each day.

Creating work opportunities for the unemployed and after school programmes to occupy students during the "idle hours" would go a long way to reducing anti-social behaviour, Mr. Moss said.

Mr. Moss said his church has already implemented such a programme, which includes providing computer and music lessons for young men who live in Bain Town.

Nora Brooks, a resident of Patton Street, also welcomed the project, saying that "it's a good idea because there's too much crime going on."

"You're not safe even in your own house," Mrs. Brooks said.

She described conditions in her area as "terrible," saying that some of the young men engage in anti-social activities like gambling, fighting and purchasing illegal firearms.

Some residents in the Over-the-Hill community have also called for government agencies to assist in providing improved social development for the historic Bain Town area.

But other residents point out that persons who live in the area must show initiative and improve their own socioeconomic conditions.

"Many young men in the area sit idly by the park, do nothing and just expect people to feed them," Captain Helen James of the Salvation Army Meadow Street branch said.

"I hope the [expanded Farm Road] project will enhance them in the sense that they will be better able to find jobs and become more independent," she said.

She also said the level of crime is high in the area and a simple argument often escalates into a fight, sometimes leading to death.

"A lot of threats are made around here and whenever someone can't get back at someone they had a disagreement with they either burn the person's house down or shoot that person.

"I don't know why they do it, but I guess that's the concept that they've grown up with. Somebody has to break the trend somewhere," Ms. James said.

She said a dimension that might prove advantageous is helping unemployed persons in the Bain Town area acquire job skills so they would be able to find employment.

"Hopefully, they will realize that life is not just as it comes but they can find something useful to do with their time and they will see that living off of others or living on the wall is not all there is to life," she added.

By Darrin Culmer, The Bahama Journal

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