ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Some residents of English Harbour say they are now living in fear after the quiet of their community was shattered by a recent wave of crime in that area.
“I think it’s true to say that we have many of our residents literally living in fear,” resident Tim Eynon said.
Police have confirmed that since the start of the year, 54 crimes have been reported for English Harbour and surrounding communities. The crimes rage from attempted cases of sexual assault to trespassing and burglary, according to the police.
Members of the Property Owners Association (POA) for Turtle Dieppe Bay, Cherry and Spring Hill met on Wednesday night with local police and private security firms to find the way forward on the recent surge in crime.
Eynon said the incidents have left residents in these areas fearing for their life after being attacked or hearing of news of individuals who experienced terrifying ordeals.
“We can not have a community where our visitors, who normally rent villas, providing much of the income for the Harbour, don’t come because they live in fear,” he added.
When residents met with police, it was an opportunity for them to share of their personal experiences with criminals. The meeting also presented the opportunity for them to ask questions of the law enforcement officials and receive advice on the way forward.
One resident, who has made Antigua his home for the last 17 years, said the only commitment keeping him on the island is his responsibility to his dogs and two cats.
Residents proposed several options for preventing crime in their neighbourhood to include the formation of a neighbourhood watch and the possibility of establishing a gated community. They also explored the option of engaging the services of a private security firm.
“We don’t want to do things illegally. We don’t want neighbours with illegal weapons. We want to co-operate with the facilities that are available to identify which gaps need to be filled in,” Eynon said.
The acting superintendent of police for the area, Joseph Hughes, told OBSERVER Media, “We are doing our best to ensure that we reduce the number of criminal activity within the dockyard district.”
The wider English Harbour community also met with Police Commissioner Vere Browne, on Tuesday, in a meeting that lasted more than three hours.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)