Synergy needed to tackle the wire theft, copper bullets connection

Letters to the Editor

Synergy needed to tackle the wire theft, copper bullets connection

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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The following is an open letter to Major General Antony Anderson, commissioner of police:

Dear Editor,

I take great pleasure in the work you and the majority of good policemen and women in the force have been doing, and I extend words and feelings of support and gratitude.

Your predecessor took the time to read the few letters sent this desk over the years and I hope this one is helpful, informative, and encouraging. You know your job better than I ever will, but I meant to write on this topic for a while now and this seems the timely moment.

There is a high correlation between cable wire theft, locally made bullets (copper shots), gangs, national development, and the new COVID-19 propelled electronic paradigm. I propose a conscientious synergy of effort to address this now critical problem.

Unlike most outsiders, I recognise the scarcity of resources and manpower, however a new unit in co-operation with the affected service providers affected could yield concrete results. A dedicated, focused, and jointly financed public private partnership with entities like Flow and Digicel could:

* provide an early alarm monitoring system to identify and track down lines within minutes after they are stolen, saving time, energy, fallout, and serve as a deterrent to future acts of vandalism;

* curtail the financing of gangs with scrap metal, fibre-optic cable revenue, and copper for bullets; and

* foster national development, which is being stymied by the fallout and downtime for service providers and customers, be they business, recreational, and now students.

Since the economy is now more than ever reliant on the information highway to function, there is a desperate need to clamp down on this quick cash crime. A synergised approach is critical at this time. Jamaica's telecommunication woes concerning customer dissatisfaction because of service delivery problems are compounded by the fact that men steal their lines for the copper content, assumedly for the scrap market. But street smarts tell us that the metal is also smelted to make bullet warheads. The Government needs to make a timely intervention; not only to secure the nation's Internet infrastructure, but also to mitigate crime.

I know we're short on cash, but the conflict of these issues demand a synergised approach to kill four birds with one stone, keep our networks safe, and dry up the supply of bullets to criminals.

I leave the seeds of this proposal, which is worthy of exploration, in your capable hands.

Earl Green

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