Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Letter of the Day | More cameras, not more police cars

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Last week, the nation breathed a sigh of relief when National Security Minister Robert Montague confidently assured us that additional troops were headed to St James and that that should ease the crime problems there. By the end of what The Sunday Gleaner calls 'Hell Week', 15 persons had died violently in that area and several others elsewhere.

The police force is more than 14,000 strong. Add to that number the Jamaica Defence Force, with its ships, aircraft and specialist equipment. Its infantry battalion is strategically deployed in four locations so that a military presence facilitates quick reaction and smooth deployment of troops into operational areas.

But after years of trying, even the most sympathetic supporter has to admit that whatever the authorities are doing just is not working. And if I hear one more official using this duppy story about 'lotto scam', I am going to burst a blood vessel. Whatever the problem is, why aren't we making any headway?

During that same week, there were three scary incidents in the US. Many were injured, others died. In the twinkling of an eye, the suspected perpetrators were caught. How come? Is it because the US is rich and powerful? No! It's just that their people are thinking.

From the time I was able to read detective novels, I learnt that crimes were solved because of information that was made available to the police. Today, we also have the assistance of technology. So when that bomb went off or the youngster started shooting in that store, the first thing they went for was technology - the cameras. That helped them to identify a suspect.




As soon as that happened, his image was on every television screen - everywhere. In a jiffy, the person sought was spotted by a citizen and held. Does this process require some superior skills? No!

The shape and character of our security system should be developed based mainly on the conflicts prevalent in these societies. We are not encouraged to support the police. But even if some of us are so inclined, how are we to do that?

'Duppy Flim' has been wanted for years. Does anyone know what 'Duppy Flim' looks like? Is he the young man that asked to use my bathroom yesterday? I do not know! Because his identity is a big secret. Conditions in western Jamaica are of such that the area should be flooded with cameras. It is cameras that the police need now - not more cars!

The country is scared. And when a nation's police force is backed up by its defence force and all the resources that the nation can muster and the criminals are still winning, it is time to be really scared. Trus mi.


Stony Hill