There are six major gangs in Barbados, and guns are being circulated or rented for up to Bds$10 000.
These were among the findings from a study conducted by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit, and director Cheryl Willoughby said there were over 50 blocks in Barbados in both rural and urban areas.
She said the Royal Barbados Police Force’s Special Branch had identified these six gangs, which ranged from 25 to 50 people, while smaller ones had a membership of 15 to 30. The general age range was 17 to 40 years old, with the average age of members in the mid-20s, but research showed some as young as 15 were frequenting the blocks.
The crimes committed by those groups, she said, included theft, robbery, drug possession and distribution, firearm possession, serious bodily harm, woundings and murder, and they were “very organised”.
Speaking at the National Strategic Consultation On The Social Response To Crime In Barbados conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday, Willoughby said some communities had warring factions and this led some young people to get involved in gangs and criminal activity.
“During our research, we learnt of a phenomenon, I refer to as the ‘Circle’, where inmates spoke of being in groups where firearms could be easily obtained and passed from one person to another if you were of a particular circle or group,” she said.