Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Hit crime with hard-line measures

Published:Saturday | January 27, 2018 | 12:05 AM


The only way to control crime is through deterrence. The zone of special operations initiative is foolishness. Even the state of emergency, which was probably inevitable at this point, will not yield far-reaching results. You can't roll in with great visibility and fanfare. This is behaviour after the fact. Second, criminals will just wait out the maelstrom. They know it's unsustainable from a logistical, civil-liberties and cost standpoint.

This state of emergency, which I do support, is so Andrew Holness, though. Meaning, it's public-relations-driven, and Jamaican politicians are masters at public relations, without serious substance and plan-of-action game.

You have to prevent the crime in the first place. Criminals know that Government can't afford these operations over time. To say that they arrested five people and found 10 guns is a joke.

Only deterrence will work. How do you get deterrence? Through fear. How do you engender fear?

1. Severe punishment. If you import illegal guns into Jamaica and you are caught, you should be put to death. Malaysia puts you to death for mere possession. Japan gives you life in prison for discharge.

Given our crime situation, what are the politicians waiting for?

2. A high probability that you will be caught. Drone surveillance, CCTV cameras, enormous (private sector-contributed) rewards for information leading to conviction, a robust, well-funded and efficient judicial system, and NIDS!

3. You must inject randomness and unpredictability into the process. Unmarked police cars, plainclothes detectives, sting operations, multiple arrests for small crimes, leading to information on larger crimes, and (working with telecom companies) extensive wiretapping.

These are not sexy initiatives, but require patient, diligent commitment, which is what I thought Andrew Holness intended upon assuming office.

You can't promise Jamaicans the privilege of being able to sleep with their doors open when you have no plan.