Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Letter of the Day: Treat crime from the root, not the fruit

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Divine intervention, increased numbers of police personnel, counselling for inmates in prisons, continuous surveillance in troubled areas - all these may be answers to the upsurge of heinous crimes being committed, especially against women and children. But, every day, more gruesome acts are carried out.

This baffles the nation. Persons stand in awe and ponder how another human being is able to concoct such evil plans, let alone carry them out. What could drive someone to that state of insanity where such violence is meted out to another - mother, friend, daughter, child, sister? Are we as a nation missing something?

The swelling of the police force to fight crime may be a good thing, but are we waiting too long?

We are waiting for the seed (criminal element) to grow, blossom and bear fruit. Every day, new criminals evolve, so it gets more difficult for the security apparatus to provide adequate manpower and equip itself enough to tackle this spurt of modern-day crime.

It could be a consideration to begin with the young and impressionable and devise strategies to deal with the issues they encounter, because, by the stage of adolescence, if not before, the criminal is already born. Zoom in on the six-year-olds entering primary school.

One would be astonished to learn of the myriad of challenges some of these children enter school with, and the burden they carry throughout. Teachers can single out those with disruptive and antisocial behaviours. The quiet ones in the corner, too, have a story to tell. These are some of the same ones who make up a great percentage of perpetrators later on who are bent on running amok in our society while the police try to play catch-up.


Proper parenting is a sore issue and is the missing link in this chain of procuring wholesome beings. Many who have children have no clue what it entails to parent. Hence, parenting workshops should be made mandatory for all parents of primary-school children. This can continue into high schools. Relevant personnel (social workers, counsellors, police officers, children agencies) should be appointed to ensure that parents attend workshops.

In this way, the behaviours displayed and challenges that children face can be traced and remedied as best as possible, so as to reduce the anger, frustration, and maladaptive behaviours that so often lead to crime and violence.

It would be a joyous day to see more police officers assigned to schools and playing an active role in tracking children's whereabouts by interacting more with them on the streets.

Ease of communication should be encouraged between police and children. Law enforcers would also be informed about home addresses as well as their usual means of commuting to and from school. In case any problems arise, this information could be used as reference.