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Taylor claims Gospel Fest reducing crime

Taylor claims Gospel Fest reducing crime

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Although 2007 saw a record number of killings here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is agreement in some quarters that it could have been worse.{{more}}

But the statistics, as well as a senior police officer in the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, refute statements that the annual National Gospel Festival may be responsible for restricting the murder rate.

At the launching of the 2008 schedule of events last Tuesday, February 12th, Chairman of the SVG Gospel Festival Fidel Taylor stated that in previous years, there had been less criminal activity recorded during the month long programme.

“I am convinced that if it were not for the church and the Gospel Festival, the crime rate would have been worse last year.”

Taylor said that the statistics from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police indicate that during the month of April, when the festival takes place, there is less crime and there have been zero murders over the years, with the exception of last year.

Taylor said that he believes the religious activity taking place around the country around that time is a direct reason for the drop.

However, statistics from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police Force show that over the past three years, the month of April was not the least murderous.

While there were no murders in April 2005 and 2006, the historic 2007 saw five persons being killed.

In fact, over the past three years, the month with the fewest killings was November, with only two (which occurred last year), and the most being in May, with 11 (three in 2005 and 2006, five last year).

One senior police officer commenting on the statistics indicated that there is no tangible evidence to show that the religious event has had any impact on crime, but he believes that the increased police presence on the streets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines certainly helped to regulate the ballooning crime rate.

The officer said that the installation of three Rapid Response Units (RRU), an upbeat police vigilance, as well as the fact that some of this country’s most notorious criminals are behind bars, are factors that need to be taken into consideration.

According to the officer, while the church has its part to play, three weeks of activity is not enough, since crime control is a year round task.

He said that the police intend to keep the crime rate as low as possible, by continuing its presence and taking the fight to the criminals.

This year’s Gospel Festival runs from April 5th to May 10th under the theme “Get Your Praise On.”

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