Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Don't shift crime-solving burden to people

Published:Tuesday | September 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I write in response to Dr Michael Abrahams' article 'We must become a nation of informers' (Gleaner, September 4, 2017). I take issue with the last quarter of his article. I do not think it is fair to say that citizens are relying on political leaders and security forces to take control. They are two bodies that continue to fail the nation by their bad and sometimes corrupt behaviour and failure to achieve their mandate. By the very nature of their ineptness, criminals are bred and become more emboldened.

Dr Abrahams has suggested that 'informing' is part of the solution. I would go a step further to say that information or intelligence gathering is the key to decreasing crime and violence. The bit of information from the citizen is just another thread woven into the fabric.

There are times that citizens have inconvenienced themselves, have risked their lives, some dying in the process-to-be police informers. However, lack of confidentiality and inertia from the security forces result in continuing crime and violence. Notwithstanding, the apathetic attitude of our citizens results from the listlessness of the police force and the perceived ineffectiveness of the justice system.

I used the word 'perceived' with the knowledge that criminal cases before the justice system are predicated on police investigations. I hate to believe that crime and violence would never be better if we don't have police informers.

This is the information age and it is time we invest in technology for intelligence gathering, to provide evidence, to prevent crime and to use in administering punitive measures. Hence, the recent announcement of $120m for people to provide information would be better spent on useful crime-fighting technology.

Leaving the onus on citizens who lack confidence in the bodies with governance in that area is like putting up rails on Flat Bridge and then calling the bridge fixed.

VALRIE J. MCKENZIE

valrie.mckenzie@utech.edu.jm