Sen. Novelle E. Francis on Tuesday announced he was going to reintroduce legislation that would install surveillance cameras at major intersections across the territory.
The bill, which Francis originally introduced during the 32nd Legislature, is one of several he is proposing that he said could proactively reduce crime and create a safer community.
“When this bill was introduced last term, we heard a lot of push back as to why we were not ready and why it could not work for our community,” Francis said. “Today, I believe that we are more than ready, given the current crime atmosphere in our community. The presence of these surveillance cameras can be a key way of making inroads in our response to crime and deterring future criminal activities.”
Francis said, based on his 25 years of experience as a law enforcement officer he sees surveillance cameras as a solid, proven strategy to fight crime.
“As we rebuild our infrastructure and tap into ways to better protect our residents and visitors, we need to use the benefits of technology,” he said. “This is the 21st century, and while we ask our residents to play their role and be the eyes and ears of the police, camera footage gives eye-witness accounts of occurrences that are reliable and unbiased, especially in situations where a witness is afraid to testify in court.”
Francis, who worked his way from the bottom ranks of the V.I. Police Department to the office of commissioner, said he hopes his colleagues and stakeholders will all see the merits of the bill, which benefits the public safety of these islands.
It is a good idea, but considering the history of poor maintenance of already existing cameras (remember the fireman murdered in full view of non-working camera at Fort Christian?), it is unlikely they will be maintained. Also, I have rarely seen accidents at intersections, even with NON-EXISTENT traffic lights and missing stop signs. But the lack of painted road lines definitely presents a problem with side swiping, especially of side mirrors. And then there is the disengaged VIPD. Not sure if there are any workable solutions for deterring crime in USVI, as it is a multiple step process, involving many entities, and considerable apathy or even resistance from the community.
Absolutely True, Well THAT happened.