The fact that convicted criminals with long records of burglaries, thefts, robberies and all sorts of crimes keep getting released – after they repeatedly commit offenses – has heightened some of our community's concerns for our safety.
Many of our island's residents now live in fear.
Some have taken additional precautions to ensure their homes have additional security, the children in the family are briefed about being wary of strangers and making sure they don't let them into the house, and they keep an eye out for unusual behavior in their neighborhood.
While many of our citizens are being proactive about safety, the thing that bothers many of our honest, hardworking fellow island residents is the frequency of the crimes that thieves, robbers and burglars carry out against people, homes and businesses.
In many cases, those who have been arrested and charged with crimes in recent months, even going as far back as a year or longer, have long prior conviction records for essentially similar crimes.
Some of the police officers responsible for the arrests of these repeat offenders have been left in disbelief that the same people they've arrested more than once have been the same people accused of committing similar crimes after they're let out of prison or jail.
Ultimately, it's up to our local judges to decide how long someone's prison term or jail detention should be and what bail should be required depending on the gravity of the alleged crimes.
The judges do need to know we're getting tired of seeing the same actors commit the same crimes, arrested as a result of diligent police work but then freed – sometimes again and again – causing residents to question whether our judges are tough enough against repeat offenders. Some have questioned, too, the seeming lack of a deterrent message from our courts.
If someone has committed crimes for years and then does the same thing once freed, then gets a slight slap on the wrist for their latest crime, you wonder if our judges are issuing punishments commensurate to the repeated harm these convicts have caused.
While drug use has been a factor in many of these crimes, our law-abiding citizens are left to wonder whether the not-so-tough court punishments have emboldened criminals to victimize people again and again.
It's safe to stay we as a community have done our part toward creating a safer island. Putting more police officers on our streets, good old investigative work by these cops, concerned citizens' Neighborhood Watch vigilance, surveillance cameras, and news and social media engagement to watch out for each other's safety have all contributed to the arrests of perpetrators who'd rather steal and harm people rather than put in an honest day's work to pay for what they need.
But no matter how well we as a collective community try to keep ourselves safe, we will continue to be under threat by criminals who commit brazen crimes in large part because they know they'll be freed.