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Fears that crime plan won't work

Published:Monday | August 7, 2017 | 3:40 PM


I am not convinced that the prime minister's new crime plan will have the desired long-term effect on our chronic murder rate. Don't get me wrong. I applaud the PM for leading from the front, and I admire his courageous decision to expend political capital on this pressing national issue.

The difficulty I have is that it looks too much like previous plans that have failed miserably. I fear this plan is doomed to the same fate.

The method of operation entrenched in the zones of special operations law is to swamp targeted communities with law-enforcement personnel and then follow up with focused social intervention by government agencies. I believe the results will be the same because as with previous plans, the criminal elements will simply either go underground and wait out the operation or move out of the targeted community to soon carry on their nefarious activities elsewhere. In six months or so, we will be right back where we started.

A more effective long-term approach to dealing with the crime problem is simply to apprehend and incarcerate offenders. We are often told that the majority of our murders are gang related. Being a gang member means that the perpetrators of murders are also engaged in other criminal activities.

We need to fix the Jamaica Constabulary Force so that it can effectively carry out investigations and improve its dismal crime-solving record.

Perhaps, the prime minister's experience of growing up in an inner-city community and him being the member of parliament of a similar constituency have informed his choice of this approach.

I wish for all our sakes that it is a resounding success. However, I suspect that it will, at best, suppress the murder rate in the short term and we would have again failed to learn the lessons of history.