Sunday, April 21, 2024

EDITORIAL: Need to put pressure on criminals

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We are not throwing our hands in the air and thinking all is lost. But when we think that we have brought the criminal element under control, up pops the weasel again.
Over the past months the Royal Barbados Police Force has been doing a tremendous job in ferreting out those transgressors of law and order and throwing them before the courts. These successes bring a sigh of relief to the community, making its members feel that we can put down our heads at night with a sense that all is well.
The criminally minded, however, have different ideas and make much of the opportunity while we slumber to strike again. A case in point: the attacks on visitors at opposite ends of the island within the space of a week recently. 
These instances of tourists being targeted and robbed just days after they arrived in the island speak to a planned strategy by the robbers and burglars to strike while the iron is hot.
Their actions go beyond the concept of crime of opportunity and are clearly well thought out actions geared to reap maximum benefit while frustrating the police and creating anxiety among those citizens of good will.
We are sure the police have the knowledge and expertise to know how criminals behave, but every effort must be made to be one step ahead of them at all costs. The issue of manpower always comes up when we speak of crime and policing, but unfortunately the force seems faced with another problem: finding suitably qualified persons, especially young men, to join the organization.
In the meantime, the criminals must not be made to feel that they can do as they please. And the task falls on all Barbadians to play their part in trying to bring this objectionable behaviour under control. That pressure must come from the courts, Government, the church, individual families and the wider society.
Criminals must not be allowed to think that they are winning. They calculate their risks of being caught and tried based on the swiftness of the justice system. Hence, it is crucial that we do something about the backlog of cases that we have in our court systems.
Criminality gains a foothold when the architects look around and feel that leadership is lethargic. That is why we feel Government must be more energetic in speaking out about the effect crime has on the society. The church also has to bring a holistic approach to its message, impressing on its followers their duty to speak out.
Individual families, no matter the economic or social pressures, should encourage their members not to break the law and the wider society must become “the eye” in exposing criminal activity.
Barbados is too small for us to become indifferent to what is happening around us.

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