The CNMI government has to make a serious and concerted effort to figure out how to counteract the increase in the number of crimes taking place in the Commonwealth over the past several years. The government has to study and analyze what is causing the upward spike in the number of crimes in our community. It has to figure out soon how to resolve this alarming problem because it is quickly making the CNMI an unsafe community.
If CNMI law enforcement officials and personnel need to procure additional professional help and assistance from other law enforcement agencies and experts, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, let us do so immediately. Our law enforcement agencies, particularly the CNMI Department of Public Safety, must have the basic and advanced training, skills, and expertise, as well as the criminal investigative tools and equipment needed to address the increase in crimes: homicide, kidnapping, burglary, robbery and grand theft; otherwise, it looks like the criminals in the Commonwealth will continue to have a field day burglarizing homes, robbing business establishments, pushing crystal meth and other harmful opioids, and kidnapping and killing people at night. As Tina Sablan noted recently, we should all be alarmed with the state of affairs in the area of criminal enforcement. It seems that DPS is at a loss as to what to do.
Although the new casino industry has brought to the Commonwealth much-needed revenue to help provide for essential public service, we need to realize that there is a corresponding negative downside with its introduction. We should know that this industry has adverse side effects. Loss of funds, particularly for those addicted to gambling, can be very devastating to the individual and his family. Addicted gamblers sometimes steal or rob in order to feed their addiction. Then there are crimes closely associated with gambling. They include the sale and purchase of opioids, crystal meth and other illegal drugs, prostitution and homicides, not to mention money laundering and other federal crimes.
This brief letter wishes to point out the increasing crime epidemic in our community and the need to address it now. It raises a number of basic questions. First, is the Commonwealth government presently equipped to deal with the increase in the number of crimes taking place in the Commonwealth and the sophisticated nature of the crimes being committed? Second, do our law enforcement officers have the necessary training and tools (such as for fingerprint gathering and analysis, ballistics analysis, etc.) to effectively fight the increasingly sophisticated crimes taking place in the CNMI? Third, do our law enforcement leaders have the expertise, leadership skills and determination (including independence from our political leaders) to investigate and try to resolve the various crimes being committed in the CNMI? All of these questions (and more) must be answered positively, if we are to effectively address, tackle, and reduce the number of crimes taking place in the Commonwealth today.
Jose S. Dela Cruz
As Gonno, Saipan