Illegal acts like the capturing of land, and water and electricity theft are believed by University of the West Indies (UWI) professor, Anthony Clayton, to be huge contributors to the cycle of crime and violence, spanning different generations in Jamaica.
"We have a deep-rooted cultural problem [where] we have something like a quarter of our entire population living on captured land. We have about one-third of our population stealing electricity. We have a situation where two-thirds of the water supplied by the Water Commission is either stolen or leaks out through holes in the pipe.
"This means that we have many children in this country who are raised in households that regard this as normal, this is what you do to survive. You capture land, you steal electricity, you steal your water, and that's normal? How in the name of God are we going to talk to these children (living in those conditions) and ask them to lead decent and responsible lives? This is what they are born with," Clayton stressed recently at a policing conference held at UWI.
Addressing the deeper social problems, Clayton said, will help lessen the need for persons to want to associate with gangs or other criminal elements.
He believes that politics has created a big part of the problem, since politicians were very influential in forming and supporting garrisons.
"Unless we start to address that deeper social problem, we are never going to come to grips with the problem of recruitment into gangs. Our own political system has made the situation much worse because politicians, as we all know, were involved in creating the garrison constituencies," Clayton said.
He accused the politicians who engaged, or are still engaged, in the practice of garrison politics of sabotaging attempts to restore law and order in the communities for their own short-term political advantage.