The silence behind the violence
Witnessess must begin to step forward and tell the police what they know.

Dear Editor,

We have entered a new year. A year in which Jamaica will celebrate 60 years of Independence, but it has already been marred by several gruesome murders.

Three incidents of double murders have already been recorded in Westmoreland, including the deaths of brothers, cousins, and two women. More recently the country has been shocked by the heinous killing of nine-year-old Gabriel King in St James.

What is worse is that it seems the murder rate will only continue its upward trend as the Government and security forces are fresh out of ideas on how to tame the crime beast that has gripped the nation for far too long.

The public is fed up with the extremely high crime rate and, in particular, the uncontrollable murder rate. The general response, however, has been to complain about the failures of the Government and security forces to effectively reduce crime.

Make no mistake about it, I am in full support of holding the Government and our elected officials accountable as they must play their part by creating the legislative framework to prosecute criminals and to deter would-be offenders from committing crimes.

The Government should also provide the police force with all the tools that they need to fight crime.

There is, however, a problem that is of particular concern, and it is one of the main reasons crime in this nation has reached the unprecedented level that it is at today. The average Jamaican citizen does not think they have a part to play in fighting crime.

The men and women of the police force, as mere mortals, are neither omnipresent nor omniscient. They will not know the details of a crime that was committed without the assistance of witnesses. The police investigative capacity is severely hindered when nobody comes forward with information that can help them to find and put away the criminals who are committing these wicked acts that have law-abiding Jamaicans living in fear.

If you see something or know something, say something. If you can help to take a criminal off the streets and prevent them from harming more people it is your civic duty to do so. When you turn a blind eye to criminality you are helping to create a criminally complicit society in which the only winners are the criminals.

So the next time you point your finger at politicians or the police for failing to curb the crime rate, ask yourself if you are part of the silence behind the violence.

Payton Patterson

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