Citizens play an integral role in fighting crime


Citizens play an integral role in fighting crime


Thursday, November 26, 2020

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It is never easy to lose a loved one. And without wanting to downplay the emotional effects that we, humans, feel whenever we have to bid an eternal farewell to a family member or close friend, it is more understandable, to a certain degree, when someone dies of natural cause or due to a prolonged illness. However, the pain is more excruciating when an individual, not to mention a child, is gunned down by some “waste man” who believes it is his right to end someone's life.

The blood of the innocent is spewing disparagingly, and this is frankly way out of control.

One would have thought that, with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, or even the aftermath of the recent heavy rains, people would be more responsible and find something constructive to do. But the numerous cases of crime and violence suggest that there are people who rather delight in wreaking havoc in other people's lives.

The news has become very repetitive: 'Family of four murdered'; 'Teenage girl gone missing'; 'Elderly man/woman robbed and killed', etc. Yet, there are fewer reports of criminals being arrested, charged, and sentenced.

There is absolutely no regard for life!

After these unfortunate incidents, the armed forces, media, politicians, community members, human rights groups, and the Church all come on the scene to condemn such barbaric acts through politically correct terms and demonstrations, but soon after the show is over. Everyone goes his/her way until the cycle is repeated... again and again.

We all, at some point, whether directly or indirectly, have lambasted successive governments for their failed efforts in nipping this monster called crime. Rightfully, they have a great responsibility to ensure that their people are safe and secured. They tell us how they have bought equipment, passed laws, and devised crime-fighting strategies, but we are yet to see how serious they are about achieving meaningful outcome.

By the way, Mr Prime Minister, we are still awaiting your promised crime plan.

It must be underscored, however, that citizens play an integral role in crime-fighting. We all grieve whenever there is a loss of life. But you know what? Many of us are quiet accomplices in criminal activities. We knowingly sing with criminals on the choir at church; we drink rum and Pepsi with them at the bar; we sit in meetings with them at work; we dance with them at illegal parties; and we house, feed, and clothe them. We know they are engaged in wrongdoing, but we turn a blind eye. Some of us only become reactive when one of our family members is taken down by one of these individuals.

What is equally surprising is when criminals get a taste of their own medicine. On most occasions, their family and friends would have us believe that their police record was as clean as Jesus's. They lived a life like that of the angels, Michael and Gabriel.

We must encourage an 'informer' culture, in which citizens see it appropriate to report incidents to the police for the greater good of the community and country. This, undoubtedly, is challenging, especially as some of the police officers themselves are criminals in police gear.

The justice system also needs to encourage the populace by implementing and enforcing greater penalties. Too many criminals, too often, get a mere slap on the wrist for some heinous crimes. And because they have the means to employ some of the country's top lawyers or pay an Obeah man, their court cases are usually thrown out.

The year 2020 is already like a decade in itself, with the myriad events and challenges locally and internationally. We still have just over a month to go before it comes to an end. As people get even busier with their Christmas shopping and preparations — of course, while still observing the health measures — may our neighbours' business (safety and security) be our personal business. The crime situation can improve if we all work together as a community.


Oneil Madden is a PhD candidate in didactics and linguistics at the Université Clermont Auvergne, France. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or



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