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#1653: Durran comments on crime in Haiti

From: Mary Durran <mdurran@colba.net>

Just to pick up on your point about the crime rate in Haiti - in 1997, I
attended a talk given by a foreign police officer to Haitian journalists on
how to cover crime.  This officer presented a tableau of crime statistics
of other Caribbean nations, and Haiti actually had one of the lowest crime
rates.  His point was that journalists should get it into proportion.  

As people have pointed out on the list, although there are criminals about,
fear of crime does not actually paralyse the average citizen, stopping them
from going out, as some press reports would have readers believe.  I
wonder, for example, if the crime rate is any worse than it was when I
lived in Haiti, until the end of 1997? 

Does anyone know about any  statistics available that shed light on the
real proportions of Haiti's crime rate? 

> From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
> To: Haiti mailing list <haiti@lists.webster.edu>
> Subject: #1634: The Gourde's Current Weakness: Hudicourt comments
> Date: Saturday, January 01, 2000 10:18 AM
> From: gilles hudicourt <hudic@videotron.ca>
> >
> > There may be other reasons. Can you or anyone else think of another
> reason.
> >
> I can.  All the factories are no more.  Payrolls that used to arrive in
> "green" from overseas now go elsewhere.  Reynolds and Cedren mining that
> closed.  Plantation Dauphin is closed.  Our coffee exports dwindled. 
> sugar, rice and cotton exporters, we became importers of all of the
> We no longer have the hardwood we used to export, our forests are
> The essential oil exports have also dwindled. Some was made from wood we
> longer have.  Much of the artwork we exported to the other islands was
> of mahogany we no longer have.  That covers the loss of income.
> There is also an increase in the export of hard currency.  The little
> still comes into the country is all exported back with the purchase of
> vehicles, generators, inverters, phones, radios.  Worse yet, the families
> that control most of that extra hard currency are being robbed, murdered,
> assaulted and raped at a rate that forces them to send and maintain their
> children overseas, to buy houses overseas and to invest overseas because
> they are no longer safe in Haiti. That class "which as always benefited
> the protection of the authoritarian regimes" (I guess some will recognize
> that quote) is not yet exporting all it's assets but maintains one foot
> Haiti, one overseas.  Many who could have left altogether.  Although,
> according to some, the crime rate per capita in Haiti might be comparable
> other countries in the area, it sure doesn't look like that from the
> of view of many people whose lack sense of safety has a major impact on
> country's economy.