Crime, family and societyThursday, June 10, 2021
I think that the problem of crime rest solely upon two entities — the Government of Jamaica and Jamaican society as a whole.
According to Politics versus Economics: The 1989 Elections In Jamaica by Carl Stone, politicians using gangs for political gains were quite prevalent, and it has set the trend for donmanship in Jamaica, especially at garrisons, which is the hot spot for crime.
The 1988 Peace Accords by Michael Manley and Edward Seaga — the two whom have made us endure what I call the Lost Decades — tried to establish peace, but the criminals turned to crime rather than politically backed machinations. This has caused things to spiral out of control with the apparent failure of successive administrations' promises to fight criminal organisations so that murders do not reach in the range of thousands per year.
While this has been brewing the police force has been winning the undignified award of being the most corrupt institution in Jamaica. It also has the poor reputation for going after average citizens more than criminals. It doesn't help the situation that average citizens can't have licensed firearms, even non-lethal ones, to defend themselves with, leaving them vulnerable to criminals.
As per society's role, here was a comment on Facebook that seemed to reflect my views on society and crime: “Police can't fix our issues. We need to bring back strong family values and stop preaching the gyalist culture and acting as if having a majority of the women being single mothers, and [children with] absentee fathers is going to result in anything else but misguided youth.”
We always wonder from whence the criminals emerge. But, if truth be told they came from the very same society that failed them. What we need to do is to get things right within our homes to solve crime long term, as individuals and as a society. If we wait on the Government to have social programmes — which, according to some surveys, are barely popular among the wider population — to try and help communities, the damage to the fabric of society would already be done. If we do not have a strong family foundation of two-parent families that train the children in the way he or she should grow into a productive citizen who helps with the development of our economy, while legally profiting off the fruits of his or her labour, then the next best place to 'grow' the child will be the streets, where the criminals are.
Furthermore, for far too often it is commonplace that we must grow the boys on the streets to develop masculinity of some sort. Fathers must intervene in this learning process, otherwise it would be some criminals or artistes who define masculinity for them, which does not lead to desirable outcomes.
There can be proper policies from the Government to reform the police force so that its members never abuse the citizens, but can, instead, effectively catch criminals. As well, work must be done to legalise non-lethal firearms, or making the licensing process cheaper, with the training and systems solid enough to screen citizens.
Society must also do its part by reversing some toxic cultural norms from the process of rearing children, such as the idea that food and other necessities are the only things needed to raise a child; that single parent families are sufficient to become the norms; and that raising them on the streets to be “tough” is without its risk. Otherwise, we may miss the opportunity to reduce crime for this generation and the next.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login