Enforcement, intervention and prevention

Monday, January 09, 2017

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Dear Editor,

The level of crime and the number of illegal firearms in Jamaica is unacceptable and a plague upon the lives of law-abiding citizens.

There seems to be an unfortunate lack of accurate, reliable, and timely statistical data on the availability of firearms in Jamaica and their use in crime. It is nonetheless apparent that firearms are widely available in Jamaica and they’re used to threaten, injure and kill. This creates fear and tension for both residents and visitors.

We must fight crime and violence with a balanced combination of enforcement, intervention and prevention. Accomplishing this requires a coordinated effort between the police, the Church, community leaders, and schools. There is strength in numbers. Most criminals attack victims who are alone — not in groups. And groups can rally, march, and hold vigils to demonstrate their commitment.

Everybody needs to decide what role they’re going to play, and go to work at that task to get the rate of crime down, once and for all. We don’t need to worry about who’s going to get credit; when we save lives, the people who are living get the credit.

The Government needs to have a sophisticated and organised crime-fighting battle plan to reduce crime. We must provide our law enforcement with the tools they need to keep our communities safe. Parliament must pass new laws which will significantly widen the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies can covertly use data, listening and tracking surveillance devices. While technology has advanced rapidly in the last two decades, law enforcement agencies have faced increased difficulty in protecting the safety and security of Jamaica. The Government must arm the police with high-tech computer programs that use the latest data to map crime hot spots. If officers notice a certain crime plaguing a certain neighbourhood, they can pull up a map of crime perpetrators and parolees in the area to identify possible suspects.

The private sector could help fund video surveillance cameras. The new equipment will assist the police to gather intelligence and effectively crack down on crime.

Their is need to also form a crime intervention and prevention task force. This task force would comprise current and former members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force, as well as judges and other public officials. The task force would make reports to the Government and law enforcement.

Lastly, we must also focus our attention on our at-risk youth and provide opportunities that help them make healthy choices away from crime and gangs. There are certain factors that indicate, for the most part, when children might be at risk of misbehaviour: children who are abused and neglected, children who are failing in school, and children who associate with other delinquents. Let’s work with this knowledge. There is no one method that will help every person; success requires working with their parents and figuring out each individual’s needs. Options include job apprenticeships, after-school programmes and mental health services.

We have to take steps to prevent, as best we can, the youth of today from becoming the chronic offenders of tomorrow. More than all, we need to instil respect for human life in our children.

Neville Carnegie





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