Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 24, 2023 (SKNIS): Abandoned properties can be havens for criminal behavior ranging from drug holes to theft rings to murder. Bearing this in mind, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) is collaborating with other agencies to mitigate the challenges of abandoned properties.
“With regards to abandoned houses, we are working in collaboration with the Physical Planning Unit because many of these homes are private homes and many of the owners might have left St. Kitts and Nevis for a number of years and may not have an interest in coming back,” said Commissioner of Police, James Sutton on the July 19 Edition of Infocus.
“Persons use them to hide stolen properties, to monitor the movement of others, to commit crimes; vagrants use them for other reasons and other persons use them to consume their narcotics.”
Commissioner Sutton said that these abandoned buildings, as well as vehicles, are eye sores. He added that this collective effort with other agencies will help to address the problem.
He referenced the “Broken Window System” which is a theory that links disorder and disrespect within a community to subsequent occurrences of serious crime.
“There is a system called the ‘Broken Window System’ where if you don’t address the problem now it might just manifest into something bigger and that is what we are trying to eliminate,” he said. “I have applied the crime prevention triangle where you cannot take away a person’s desire to commit a crime, but you can take away the opportunity and ability to commit a crime.”
The issue of abandoned properties was raised recently by the Honourable Garth Wilkin, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Press Conference with Cabinet Ministers on July 13. He called on owners of abandoned properties to act and clean their lots because they pose a security risk in communities by being harbouring grounds for criminal activity and pose potential health hazards.
Failure to clean lots will result in the properties being cleaned by private small businesses. The cost will be attached to the landholder’s property tax. Attorney-General Wilkin said that the landowners will get sufficient notice to clean their lands before any action is taken.