Burglary most common crime in St. Maarten

POSTED: 01/31/12 12:54 PM

“Citizens don’t do enough to protect their homes”

St. Maarten – Citizens do not do enough to protect their homes against burglary and there is a market for stolen luxury goods among poor illegal immigrants. This explains why burglary has rapidly become one of the most prevalent forms of crimes against property in St. Maarten, the crime analysis report of the national police services KLPD states.

The authors, Sally Mesu and Ewout Stoffers, point out that the police is unable to conduct sufficient patrols in the neighborhoods, due to a lack of capacity and because other crimes (like serious violent crimes) have priority.
“Burglars can strike easily. The damage victims of home burglaries suffer is large, because many citizens are uninsured and have not enough financial strength to cover these damages.”
Burglaries at companies occur less frequent according to the report, but security at companies is not much better than at private homes.
“If there is a burglary, the financial damages are usually significant, due to the mostly inadequate security of companies.”
The researchers wrote that citizens and companies can still do a lot themselves to secure their premises.
“A problem is that burglars have to be released occasionally to make place for suspects of more serious crimes, because the prison is filled to capacity.”

Mesu and Stoffers further explain why the increase in car theft and break-ins in cars have been going on for years.
“Many parking lots are in remote locations and their layout is poorly organized. The government pays too little attention security and lighting in public spaces. The lack of anti-burglary and theft equipment in cars is also a factor.”
Lastly, the researchers point out that there is a local market for stolen car parts.
“Citizens and car mechanics buy cheaper stolen parts because of the high price and the scarcity of new parts. That promotes theft and fencing.”
Another circumstance that makes life easier for car thieves is the fact that the island is divided in two countries.
“Criminals are frustrating the fight against car theft by crossing the border to Saint Martin with stolen cars or by registering them in Saint Martin. The attention of the police for car theft is currently insufficient.”
Mesu and Stoffers note that the demand for stolen property in St. Maarten is significant. Tracking down thieves and fences could lead to a downward trend in burglaries and car theft, “Until now there are no such efforts,” they wrote.
Skimming occurs in St. Maarten according to the report, but they are mostly thwarted by security measures the local banks have in place.
“Due to the different currencies on the island, the relatively large amount of cash and the busy tourist traffic in the shopping streets of Philipsburg, St. Maarten remains an interesting target for skimmers. Banks and police need to remain alert.”

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