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Let's change the criminal mindset, says ACP Powell

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

With the ongoing state of public emergency in St James limiting the ability and opportunity for criminals to flourish, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell has called on residents to help change the mindset of young men who might be predisposed to committing crimes.

Powell, who is the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) point man in the crime-fighting initiative in St James, has advised that there were three components to committing crime; and that while the security forces had a handle on the capability and opportunity components, the element of intent was going to take added effort to curtail.

"We impact their capability by taking away their guns. We impact their opportunity by occupying the spaces that they once occupied, but they still, in their minds, are dying to go and find the next victim," Powell told the recent monthly meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"I believe that with where we are now, we have to get to the stage where we impact the young men's mind. We have to get to the young people and impact their minds so that they don't have the intention to kill and to commit crime," added Powell.

The vastly experienced Powell further argued that although it would be difficult, he believed that the task of changing the mindset of potential criminals was not beyond the security forces, businesses, schools, churches, community groups and parents working together.


More mentorship needed


"How do we change the little boy at a primary school and teach him that crime isn't what you should be aiming for?" asked Powell. "How do we change the [thinking of the] 15-year-old at a high school that [life] can't be about crime, scamming and robbery? It must be about something else. How do we tell him that crime bosses don't live long, they die soon?"

Continued Powell: "We hear too much talk about mentorship, but I don't see it happening. Everybody in this room [should] adopt one or two little boys and say? 'I am going to change your direction?' Go into the high schools and ask, 'Who are the troublemakers here?' Then you take two or three of them, sit them down, and talk to them."