Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Editorial | Criminal impunity fuels fear

Published:Saturday | September 3, 2016 | 12:22 AM

The reported robbery of IDs and uniforms off the backs of National Water Commission (NWC) workers in Stony Hill sets a new mark in criminal impunity in this society.

Even before learning the exact motive of this crime, it is utterly scary that imposters could be planning home invasions by using genuine IDs and uniforms of NWC workers. This scam has been tried before, but then they used fake IDs and did not wear uniforms.

There are daily reports on social media of persons being trailed from banks and robbed or being followed home and pounced on by armed criminals who then rob them of their possessions. Many of these incidents go unreported to the police so they do not get picked up by traditional media. Even though these incidents may not be picked up by traditional media, reports on killings continue to dominate the media almost on a daily basis.

For those who can afford to protect themselves, they employ private security firms, they install panic alarms and invest in security cameras for surveillance of their properties which are linked to their cellular phones and can be accessed wherever they are. Business people have no choice but to beef up security to try to guarantee the safety of their workers and customers. But it affects their bottom-line and increases the cost of doing business.




One of the reasons for the criminals' daring is their belief that they will never be caught and made to face the justice system. And even if they are caught, they know it is likely to take years before their case is investigated and brought before a court of law because of our gridlock system. As a result, witnesses get frustrated and, in the end, do not show for the hearing and the criminal is once again set free to carry on illegal activities.

It has been said that the most effective way of combating crime is to have swift arrest and speedy trial. The cynics amongst us may find it hard to resist pointing to the huge gulf that exists between crime and prosecution in Jamaica's tortuous justice system.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised while on the election campaign trail that there would be an improvement in the country's security system and that people would be able to sleep with their doors opened. Like music to the ears, that promise raised many hopes about crime-fighting plans. Yet, we continue to lose children, mothers and fathers to violent crime with alarming regularity. Noticeably, Mr Holness has not said much about crime since settling into office.

As far as Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams is concerned, it would be fair to say he has worked extremely hard at managing the perception of crime with his carefully packaged crime statistics than devising workable strategies to reduce violence.

We have heard it often enough that the solution to crime has to be a holistic one including jobs, educational opportunities, social intervention and reduction in poverty. Now we wait to see the first move in saving this country from the marauding criminals and the devastating plague of violence. We urgently need someone who can promote real solutions to this crime situation.