Curb delinquency before it becomes criminality
Statistics show that males, ranging in age from the mid-teens to late 20s, make up the majority of gang members.

Dear Editors,

As Jamaica celebrates 60 years of Independence in a matter of weeks, our beloved island in the sun continues to struggle with putting the leash on crime.

We effortlessly succeed in surpassing 1,000 murders year in year out. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) reports that the gun has been the star in the island's crime show. It is alarming that no one is exempted from making the news, lying on the floor motionless with crime investigators sketching notes to start their probe.

Statistics from the JCF show that males, ranging in age from the mid-teens to late 20s, make up the majority of the crime cast. The situation gets rather precarious when robbers not only want your money, but take your life and anyone who chooses to defend you or your property.

The reality is that 97 per cent of Jamaicans are law-abiding citizens. We, however, allow the three per cent of uncircumcised Philistines to hold the island hostage under a cloud of fear.

If we believe that good can overcome evil, then why are we in this crime predicament? According to Edmund Burk, "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." It must be made clear that, in order to turn off Jamaica's crime show, all the viewers have their part to play, from parents to politicians.

The children and parish courts across the island can provide the statistics speaking to the volume of juvenile delinquents who become adult criminals.

One strategy the Government can employ to change the island's crime script is to target youth displaying behaviour challenges. This can be identified by the people the law deems "prescribed persons" in the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA). Some of these people are teachers, guidance counsellors, parents, nurses, etc. The idea is to focus on youth displaying criminal behaviour and like. The Child Diversion Programme could set up a system to curb the behaviour before it takes root.

After these individuals are identified, they are then pulled from their school and community, the behaviour is addressed, then they are reintegrated into society. The facilitators of the programme would be social workers, guidance counsellors, psychiatrist, psychologist, and the security forces. It is worth a try.

Hezekan Bolton

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