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Your role in crime reduction

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I SAT IN THE Serious Offences Court in Kingstown for a few hours last Friday awaiting a particular matter, and during my wait I could not help observing the alarming rate at which many of our young people both male and female were blatantly choosing to become christened in a life of crime at such tender ages. Who is to be blamed? Our blessed nation has been well known throughout the region and the world for being one which is extremely peaceful.

However in recent times this has been slowly changing. What is the root cause?{{more}} I have come to the conclusion that many of our nation’s social problems will remain unsolved because the majority of our citizens are looking in the wrong direction for the right answers. The problem of crime is not one that can be properly addressed single- handedly by the police, magistrates, judges, honourable members of parliament and the like. Instead, the way forward requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders in our society.

We cannot pretend that crime is non-existent.

Crime is present in all societies, but our duty is to be tough on crime and its causes at every level in our society. As a Vincentian people, we must be conscious that as a society, when crime affects one, it has the potential to affect all.

Hence, we all stand to lose tremendously if we neglect our social responsibility as Vincentians in failing to join with the law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime. Each and every law abiding citizen has a role in continuing to maintain the laws of the land and consequently a

role in the reduction of crime. However, crime reduction goes way beyond the overly generalized advice that we all simply have a role to play. The effort must be both scientific and highly strategic.

Every Vincentian has a moral and social obligation to act responsibly and with respect for our fellow citizens.

Personal accountability is the beginning of the solution. Crime is primarily the outcome of multiple adverse social, economic, cultural and family conditions.

The issue is complex and interrelated hence it requires careful study.

As our society evolves from being starkly traditional to relatively modern we will experience an increase in secularization.

However, can we really blame a rise in crime on increased secularization?

Be that as it may, one proposition which remains unquestionable is that the family is uniquely placed in a position to contribute to raising healthy socially responsible members of society. There is no doubt in my mind that a dysfunctional family is the main contributor to future delinquency.

It is evident in our communities that there is a rise in teenage pregnancies over the years. This has resulted in an increase in single parenthood and the abandonment of children during their early stages of socialization. It is therefore not hard to envisage that in disadvantageous circumstances like these, children of these families would be more predisposed to a life of crime.

Is there really a direct link between crime and poverty? If the answer to this question is yes, then are we doing enough to address the problem?

Would a more radical redistribution of wealth assist us in finding the right answer?

Our nation’s effort to educate its people has been a step in the best direction.

The education revolution must be seen as the machinery in this regard, and must never be allowed to loose its steam, for it might very well be our last chance at getting it right.

Our family units must be stronger than ever before simply because the attacks are greater. The divorce rate is spiraling out of control and many broken relationships are ending in bloodshed.

What are our churches doing to assist in restoring the broken families and homes? Our social ministries must place greater emphasis on family services and become more innovative, implementing new ways and techniques to

assist our families that are on the verge of falling apart and those that already have.

Our children must be encouraged to partake in sports, youth clubs, the performing arts and music. We must get our young people to think like young brilliant entrepreneurs who in a fast approaching tomorrow will be able to take control of our nation’s business.

However, before this, we must provide programmes that will in the medium and long term reduce the risks of our children turning to a life of crime as an alternative.

The implementation of such will ensure that appropriate care is administered at the most vulnerable stages of youth development.

This will have great significance for their long term physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being and their development into independent and socially healthy adults. It is now up to us!

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