Paul Gyles | Defeating the monster of crime
Developed and developing countries are faced with constant national challenges which, if not managed or solved, threaten their growth and development. Jamaica has many challenges, but a single factor that stands out based upon its frequency, intensity and gruesomeness is crime.
The monster of crime has been plaguing Jamaica for more than 40 years and throughout this period the reasons for the increased incidence vary. Through the efforts of the security forces, along with government policies, many crimes have been solved and brought under control for short periods.
Over the past two to four years, the levels of crime have reached an alarming rate wherein this monster is threatening the existence and survival of Jamaican citizens. The killings of two businessmen over 10 days in our two cities are examples of lawlessness that is out of control. Individuals who are contributing to the country's development have lost their lives in an ugly way and the perpetrators have escaped.
Many strategies and recommendations have been formulated and many have worked, but at this time, viscous crimes require urgent and effective solutions that will deter criminals from committing murders, and if homicides have been committed in a short time, the perpetrators will be caught and the required penalty applied.
The recommended methods are (1): rapid response: (2) substantial compensation for positive reported cases; and (3) the dismantling of gangs. Methods listed in the past have gained some success, but effective implementation is the key for success in defeating the monster of crime.
The public sector, under the leadership of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of National Security Robert Montague, should lead the way in declaring war on crime, especially on thugs involved in hold-ups at home, and shootings at homes, business places and in public places.
Whenever there is a natural disaster, all efforts are made and entities are on alert to address these situations.
Whenever a murder occurs, especially those involving innocent citizens, a declaration should be made by the public-sector leadership through the media. This should be emphasised and this should be followed by massive deployment of security personnel to gather information to lead to quick arrest.
The current situation that exists involves criminals crossing into adjoining parishes following their hideous acts to disguise themselves. To catch these criminals, the best way is to appeal to relatives, friends and confidants to share information and offer significant compensation of $1 million and above. This lucrative offer will entice individuals to release information.
Create a confidence unit in the security force with five to seven persons where reports can be made and addressed. This confidence unit should be in every parish with direct lines, and the unit should be made of citizens with integrity and also justices of the peace. Outstanding members of the security force should be a part of this unit.
Most times, these criminals are connected to a gang in some way. In an effort to arrest their colleagues, share with the criminal the benefits of a reduced sentence in exchange for vital information to capture other gang members. If the penalty is 20 years, offer a reduction of three to five years. This approach will lead to positive identification and arrest of gang members.
The appeal to consider the strategies outlined is critical at this time because crime is threatening to destroy all progress made over many years by dedicated citizens of Jamaica. Immediate implementation of these strategies will reap significant outcomes in conquering crime.
Let's work together to defeat this monster that is threatening the stability of Jamaica, land we love.
- Professor Paul Gyles, PhD, is a research scientist, educator, and administrator. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.