Sun | Nov 18, 2018

No short-term fixes for crime

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM


The declaration of a state of emergency is welcome, but the solution cannot be simplified by mantras like 'getting the guns', or through short-term operations or campaigns.

Psychiatrists, in treating diseases, use what is termed the biopsychosocial model. At this point, criminality has to be likened to a disease. The biological approach used by the psychiatrist, i.e., the use of medication to calm the patient and subside the acute symptoms can be likened to the current police-military operations. It is important to restore order in our country, but please, let us not be fooled into thinking things will get better with that. Dealing with the underlying problem and preventing recurrence is even more important.


Decrease in crime


Let us not forget that after the 2010 state of emergency, there was a decrease in crime, especially murder, a lull which we saw for about two years. History proves that a state of emergency is not the ultimate fix.

These are some of the psychological considerations we need to address:

1. Counselling of persons affected by, and/or exposed to crime and violence.

2. Counselling and rehabilita-tion of offenders in addition to sufficient punishment which deters deviant behaviour.

3. Curbing indiscipline at all levels.

- Structured mentorship programmes throughout all schools.

- Increased police and military presence and effectiveness.

- Zero tolerance to 'small crimes' and corruption.

- Widespread military or service exposure.

4. Healthy minds and healthy bodies.

- Improve healthcare and health promotion.

Decrease advertisement of alcohol use, smoking and sexuality in public domains/media.

- Ban music or other promotions with violent or sexual content from public media.

5. Improve pride/morale of people.

- Positive enforcement, rewards.

- Removal of zinc fences.

6. No reward for indiscipline.