Let's start taking personal responsibility for crimeWednesday, April 07, 2021
It has been a tough couple of weeks: Hearing of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, gearing up for the lockdown, and then being hit with the case of Khanice Jackson. I think the entire Jamaica paused as we tried to process what really happened to this young girl. It is sad that it takes instances like these for Jamaicans to have a unified voice and demand more from our justice system, as well as more accountability and assistance from each other.
But as hours and days passed it was wonderful to see speedy updates as different people close to the case or the victim stepped forward with their small bit of information, and together the pieces were able to lead to great breakthroughs in the case.
Conversely, many people took the opportunity to point out and question: Why can't the police solve or identify suspects in other missing cases with similar speed?
This leads me to wonder when will Jamaicans take personal responsibility to accept the part that we play in advancing crime? When will we be able to see that unless we assist with volunteering the information we know, then we cannot expect the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to be able to solve all crimes on their own? Withholding information and choosing inaction is actually supporting and encouraging criminal activity.
We, as Jamaicans, have repeatedly tried to manipulate the system by 'paying off' the police when we are stopped for traffic violations, or have bought 'bandooloo' products because they are cheaper. We have wanted the system to be one we can manipulate, yet we crucify the system when crimes are being done by others without them being caught.
When will we realise that, in choosing to denounce a systematic fix such as a national database that accounts for each person that matches fingerprints to their owners, that we are being hypocrites in calling for the Government and our security forces to do more?
Looking back, our culture has been riddled with cases of mistaken identities. One of the most memorable cases was in 2017 when a young man from Westmoreland was wrongfully listed on Jamaica's most wanted list. It turned out to be the correct name, but the wrong photo that was published to identify him. This echoes that a name is not a unique enough identifier, and this is not an error we can afford to continuously make as cases of mistaken identity can be detrimental.
Our security forces need help to be more effective, and I do believe that this component of the proposed national identification system (NIDS) is something we definitely need to assist in equipping our forces with the tools needed to address the crime issue.
Let us, today, commit to helping to fixing a system that we have repeatedly helped to break.
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