L to R – Retired Inspector Chunilal Bedassie and Chairman of the Felicity Empowerment Council Debideen Manick. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

The Felicity Empowerment Council (FEC) plans to tackle crime by getting most of the community involved in a neighbourhood watch programme. 

FEC Chairman Manick Debideen said the organization was formed in order to assist the Police to curb the rising crime rate in the Chaguanas community.

Speaking with Guardian Media at the Green Park Recreation Ground in Felicity, Manick, who also is the head of the Felicity Foodcrop Farmers Association, said the Council also would take on a long term, holistic approach to crime fighting by getting young people involved in community related activities.

The FEC Chairman said the recent abduction of Felicity businessman Kartikay Ramsundar has struck a nerve, increasing fear in villagers. He told Guardian Media that after receiving numerous calls from residents, he joined with the police and other influential community members to get the ball rolling.

“The first initiative was to form a WhatsApp group in order to ‘lock down the area’,” he said, noting that cameras also would be installed at three major points, including access to the nearby Caparo River.

Retired Police Inspector, Chunilal Bedassie, said residents would be asked to report any suspicious crimes immediately to the police, and then put up the information on the chat.

According to Bedassie, spreading the information on the chat would make the community aware so members could be on the lookout for perpetrators.

Bedassie explained the community would be divided into blocks manned by a captain who would then send information to an advisory body. He said this is to prevent confusion in the chat.

The former cop said no additional resources are needed to reduce criminal activity. He also acknowledged that criminals live in the community.

“In every community there are criminals who live and disappear within the folds in the community,” he said.

Bedassie said the patrol blocks are small and efforts would be made to keep persons involved in criminal activities out of the chat.