As a 64-year-old Virgin Islander who lived for 30 years in the United States, I am saddened by the increase of crime in my once very safe island.

We depend on tourism and offshore companies for our economy. The offshore industry is under attack, and now we are robbing tourists and businesses.

Remember what happened in St. Croix many years ago: They still have not recovered. All the crime is reported on the Internet, so when a tourist gets robbed other potential tourists will not come. We have to get a handle on this problem.

Longer jail time will help a little, but the most important thing is for parents to properly raise their children, especially boys. Don’t let them drop out of high school without being able to read and write or fill out a job application. When they see working people with nice things they want them too, so they will steal to get them.

The Virgin Islands doesn’t get foreign aid, so we need to get our tourism going. I’ve been all over the world, and the place I love most is the VI. Not for the beaches or high standard of living, but for the low crime rate. Our crime rate is still much lower than 98 percent of the other Caribbean countries, but we older VIslanders remember when there was no crime at all.

The four murders we had last year made the murder rate about 13 for every 100,000 people. The USVI’s rate was about 52 for every 100,000 people. The mainland US’ rate is about five for every 100,000. New York City has almost nine million people and it had only 421 murders, which is less than 4.7 per 100,000.

Raising children

Parents, please stop bringing children into the world if you don’t have the time and finances to take care of them. Single mothers, stop making children before you finish your education, so in case your sperm donor doesn’t support his child you only have to work one job and you can be home with your children. Stop going to school to fish and cuss out the teachers.

Also, make your children respect the teachers. Stop buying motorcycles without licence plates, helmets and insurance.

I will give my VI 10 murders per year, tops. If the murder rate ever reaches so high while I am alive, I will go back to the US, returning only for funerals. Please let us all do our best to curb crime in our VI.

To those boys who don’t have an education to get a regular job, only three people are to blame for you dropping out of school: yourself and your parents for letting you do it. You can make a living by cutting people’s yards, and during the conch and whelk season you can get some and sell it. Or you can fish: People always buy fish, so don’t steal people’s fruits and vegetables to sell. Work for your money. One day you might rob the wrong person and lose your life. Please stop.