Not a day passes without Jamaicans being reminded of the scourge of crime.
In deep rural Jamaica, the plague of farm theft continues unabated, making life a living hell for those who make the effort to feed the rest of us.
As if that was not bad enough, residents of such communities who use to walk miles, day and night, with no thought of being harmed, now live in fear of violent criminals. And the situation is much, much worse in the urban centres. For Jamaicans cowering in fear, cold police statistics showing robberies down by three per cent since the start of the year provide little comfort.
What people can relate to is the police assertion that "there is a higher degree of violence (gun attacks) being carried out on victims of robbery". That's the common experience on the ground.
This newspaper won't quarrel with the Police High Command for telling Jamaicans, in metaphorical terms, to 'always watch their backs'. That's a given.
But what do we tell Mr Oswald Facey who says he was actively moving to spend his retirement supervising a free health centre at his home in Twickenham Park, St Catherine?
Mr Facey returned from a trip abroad - to raise resources for his planned health centre - to find his house "thrashed" by criminals.
Angry, frustrated and demoralised, Mr Facey now says he is having second thoughts about that proposed medical facility.
The sentiment is not new. For decades crime has been described as the single greatest disincentive to investment of every sort in this island nation. Anecdotal evidence suggests it's getting worse.
The awful truth is that fear spawned by wanton criminality is destroying our confidence as a nation. If we continue like this, the day will come when the nation becomes unviable.
All of us, our leaders included, need to understand that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic structural adjustment programme will fail unless we find a way to deal with disorder and crime.
So how is that to be done?
National Security Minister Mr Peter Bunting says $300 million will be spent on new vehicles for the badly stretched and under-resourced police force. However, as if in recognition that the commitment is no more than a drop in the bucket, the minister tells us that in the context of the IMF agreement, there are severe constraints on public sector investment and expenditure.
To be fair to Mr Bunting, no amount of money and equipment will solve crime if the society is not also mobilised to help the police.
And therein lies the problem. For while there is plenty of disjointed talk about neighbourhood watches and farm watches etc we get the sense that the Government of Mrs Portia Simpson Miller is clueless as to how to go about it.
There is no way around it, Jamaicans every where must be organised in their communities to deal not only with crime, in partnership with the police, but also with the related problems of poverty and ignorance.
Public sector agencies - not least the Social Development Commission - and community leaders of every stripe led by a visionary Government must unite in one joined-up effort of mass mobilisation.
To Mrs Simpson Miller and her administration, we say, listen to the voices of Norman Manley and other founders of the 75 year-old People's National Party who are crying from the grave: "Organise! Organise!! Organise!!!"