SOEs are counterproductive
Law enforcement personnel at a security checkpoint (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Dear Editor,

I agree that a half loaf is preferable to none, but this is hardly the time to squander resources.

In response to the sharp rise in criminal activities, the Jamaican Government has declared states of public emergency (SOEs) in a number of parishes.

While I acknowledge that it is a move to help address the issue, I think it will have the opposite effect. Why were SOEs disclosed beforehand? In my opinion, the criminals and gang members would take this as a warning and leave the parishes that are to be placed under the SOE, transporting their guns and other weapons to other communities before the law enforcers arrive.

I think it is counterproductive because the goal is to decrease crime and prevent it from spreading to other parishes. It would have been more effective if an impromptu islandwide SOE was declared. That way, criminals and gang members wouldn't have been forewarned and, therefore, could not seek to hide out or conceal their weapons. Why bother trying to reduce crime in some parishes while criminals continue to travel and infest other parishes with their illicit activities?

I'm also pointing out a flaw in the way law enforcement personnel choose to inspect or stop vehicles at various checkpoints. What kind of intelligence or intellect does the police force use to determine which vehicles to let through? They frequently only give the people in the cars a quick glance before letting them pass. Although some people may appear to be good-hearted and well-dressed, appearances can be deceiving.

At the various checkpoints, comprehensive vehicle inspections are required. In addition, women shouldn't be exempt from the searches because they have previously been implicated in concealing or carrying weapons. What about a crime plan that would actually work? Based on the nation's crime rate, the implementation of SOEs is only the tip of the iceberg; further fieldwork is required.

Again, there are always loopholes and corruption in the system, rendering initiatives like SOEs futile. Some of the checkpoint officials will give the criminals the go-ahead instead of charging them because they are friendly with some of the gangsters. So how do we solve the issue when law enforcement is aiding criminals in their activities?

Criminals ought to stop committing crimes, law enforcement officials ought to follow the law and remain honourable, and people in the communities ought to denounce criminals and their illegal acts. Together, let's make Jamaica a safer place to live.

Britney Campbell

Northern Caribbean University

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