Recently, Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington and others have chastised judges (and magistrates by extension) for giving what they would deem unsatisfactory sentences for certain convicted offences.
In their view, criminals are unafraid of the consequences of their actions as the penalties do not outweigh the gains from criminal enterprise. I wish to point out, however, that the crime with the highest sanction - murder, continues to climb unabated. Murder convictions typically exceed 15 years, which is quite a high price to pay. How do the critics reconcile this anomaly?
Criminals continue with their behaviour because they know it is highly improbable, in Jamaica, that they will get caught and/or convicted. If the criminals knew that the police had a robust and generally competent investigative capacity, and that the public would, more often than not, cooperate with the police, they would know that it was highly probable they would get caught and convicted.
In the United States and other countries, crime is lower because criminals understand that capture and conviction are highly probable. It gives them cause to pause.
In Jamaica, the reverse is true. If we want to reduce crime, therefore, the work starts with us, the citizens, working with the police, and the police improving their investigative capacity so we can capture and convict more criminals. Stop passing the blame on to the judges and magistrates.