Monday’s shooting of a teenage Carnival Victory passenger on St. Thomas brings to 44 the number of homicides in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 2010, according to statistics compiled by the St. Thomas Source from police reports.

The teen was reportedly caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between gangs.

The destination has grappled with a rise in gang-related violence for several years. Donna Christensen, USVI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a statement following the shooting that a "plague of violence has gripped our community."

In 2009, there were 56 homicides in the USVI, up from 40 in 2008 and 44 in 2007.

Gov. John de Jongh Jr. said the crime problem was "the result of many years of neglect, which we can no longer tolerate."

Police Commissioner Nouvelle Francis Jr. and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty are scheduled to meet with all major cruise lines on Friday to share enhanced safety and security plans and to provide updates on the crime investigation.


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