EDITORIAL: Rapid response needed to curb upsurge in crime
The major debates on recent local developments have been mainly concerned with matters on the economic front, but even ordinary observers would have been more than a little concerned with the upsurge in criminal activity, sometimes of a kind to which we are not accustomed on this island.
Frequent murders on the one hand and suspected violence of a particularly gruesome kind according to anecdotal reports, on the other, do nothing to enhance the peace, order and good governance of this society, especially when we are doing our best at the official level to ensure the revival and resurgence of our tourism industry.
The crime surge presents challenges of the highest order to all of us, but more so to the members of the Royal Barbados Police Force whose primary duty is to keep us safe and to protect and serve.
Some will argue that crime increases at times of economic downturn, and there may be some marginal truth in these reports, but, murder and personal violence seem an increasingly frequent method of settling disputes sometimes among those who habitually engage in criminal activity.
So also, the level and frequency of personal violence in disputes among those not normally involved in criminal activity appear to be on the increase and we can no longer ignore this worrying trend because the knife and gun are playing to big a role in dispute settlement among some Barbadians who seem inclined to take the law into their own hands as soon as their heads get hot.
What may be the most disturbing fact is that many of the offenders caught up in the violence are youngsters mainly young men who often end up spending much of their most productive years either behind prison bars or living the kind of existence which denies them the chance to express their talents to the fullest because of the burden of carrying a criminal record in a small society.
As a developing country we cannot shut our eyes to these developments. Indeed the current administration and its predecessors did not; but there seems to be a need for renewed urgency to deal with the increasing levels of criminal violence and crime generally in our country and to prevent the problem getting out of hand.
It seems to us that the problem has to be tackled in a multi-purpose manner. Swift detection and timely trials and appropriate and effective punishment and rehabilitation are necessary foundation stones in the effort to decrease crime. The fear of detection must be real and we congratulate the RBPF on their recent results-oriented investigations
And yet we cannot rest on our laurels. Continuing professional development courses must become a major part of the career detective. Science and technology is developing so rapidly that every effort must be exerted to ensure that techniques are pressed into service as soon as they become available to police forces.
Inevitably the issue of the resumption of hanging as a deterrent will be raised and we leave it to the policymakers to decide what they will about renewed hanging. It is ironic that those who engage in organized crime
appear to have their own system of deterrent punishments to keep their minions in line. Human nature being what it is, there must be an effective response to the upsurge of crime in our society, before it gets out of hand.