How A Citizen Turned A Tragedy Into A Community Force Against Crime

Tired of the bloodletting and resulting trauma spurred by the murder of a man who was a husband and father, Randy Finnikin and a group of concerned Jamaican citizens have come together to form the Citizens Action Against Crime.

Mr. Finnikin who is the convenor of Citizens Action Against Crime said the new organization was formed six months ago. That’s after the murder of a man, in front of his family, in Portmore, St Catherine.

“This initiative was launched via social media and now being piloted in Old Harbour with the intention for it to be extended islandwide,” he informed members of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) at a meeting recently, where he was the guest speaker.

Mr. Finnikin, who has more than 30 years of experience in implementing social intervention programmes and community transformation initiatives, said that the crime statistics of 2017 had a profound impact on many Jamaicans.

“If the average Jamaican citizens are the targets of crime then what should the average Jamaican citizens be engaged in? What are some of the things that we can do in a proactive way to prevent crime and how can we through citizens action create that vision for Jamaica?” He asked.

He said that already the organization has been actively working with the citizens of Old Harbour to implement social intervention programmes to prevent and address crime and violence. There are some 150 volunteers in Citizens Action Against Crime. The executive meets monthly and members stay in touch through social media.

So far, the Citizens Action against Crime has embarked on the promotion of community safety and security initiatives including neighborhood, towns and farm watches; the promotion of and installation of CCTV in public places to be piloted in Old Harbour.

In addition, Mr Finnikin said there has been the  establishment of  Community Corps working with the National Youth Service / Housing Opportunity Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme to enlist approximately 30 youths to be trained and engaged over six months to interact with citizens around acceptable values, attitudes and norms including: public order; environmental best practices and sustainable livelihoods; parenting; conflict management including restorative justice and mediation.

Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA commended Mr. Finnikin for the formation of the organization and noted that there is no one solution to reducing and preventing violence.

“It requires participation and action from a network of sectors working together to address the problem,” she said.

The VPA is a non-governmental organization, which uses an evidence-based public health approach that targets at risk and protective factors leading to violence and promotes multi-sectoral cooperation.

The Alliance targets the root causes of violence and recognizes the need for improved services to mitigate the harmful effects of violence.

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By Franklin McKnight

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