The current state of affairs as it relates to crime and social disobedience in the Bahamas is far from normal. We are seeing and hearing of behavior that leaves a lot to be desired about the future and well-being of the nation. This statement is mine and is supported by the fact that the murder rate has sky rocketed, not to mention the assault statics, which have nearly tripled in the last 10 years. If you agree with my observations then you should agree that we cannot bury our heads in the ground and hope that it all gets better. I venture to say that you will say that we are in an emergency situation.
We have all watched for the last few years as our society is faced with increasing incidents of unrelenting violence on one hand and the apparent refusal of the political and religious leadership of our country, to take proactive steps to curve this problem. Both have refused to take action and rather play the blame game as to who is at fault. Frankly, we all are at fault for this condition and slowly we are accepting it as a part of Bahamian culture. 20 years ago it was unusual to see police officers carrying firearms, now high powered weapons are normal and are even being used to respond to unarmed civilians. The hiring of off duty police officers once exclusive to the police band is now outsourced to the highest bidder. The general public, who in days gone by dared not challenge the authority of the police, but now it is regularly accepted and an excused occurrence.
In the last year and more so in the last 6 months of 2013 – 2014 we continue to see a blatant upsurge in criminality in the Bahamas, not just on New Providence, but recently Grand Bahama and Exuma. The murder rate has sky rocketed into the triple digits, creating a fear of crime that I have not seen before. Bahamians are afraid to live in their own country, ‘Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” Yoda Jedi Master.
Some would agree that we are certainly angry with the current state of affairs in our country; no one wants to live in fear.
In my opinion there needs to be real demonstration of a united front against criminality not just lip service. We opine on crime and pass on the responsibility to politicians, the police, the courts and the church. For whatever the reason we seem to have forgotten, that these groups are made up of people. They are only subsections of the Bahamian Citizenry. So what can be done, here is in my opinion a simple option for consideration. In many instances it is already in place however it requires some formalization and structure.
This concept I have titled the ‘National Crime Reporting Network’. It makes all of us our brother’s keeper, allowing us to remain anonymous. More importantly it is a force multiplier, the network immediately puts several extra thousand eyes and ears on the ground to instantly monitor and report crime in real time. There are several factors that influence the commission of crime.
“The occurrence of a crime depends on two things: the presence of at least one motivated offender who is ready or willing to engage in a crime, and the conditions of the environment in which that offender is situated, to wit, opportunities for crime. All crimes require opportunity but not every opportunity is followed by crime” 2010 Encyclopedia of Victimology and Crime Prevention,
- The accessibility of cell phones should be taken advantage of where if a crime is committed a text message should be sent free of charge to all persons who have a phone, advising them to be on the lookout for suspects and report it to the police. Similarly, a dedicated number can be established allowing persons to report and update the police on their observations. Their role is only to observe not engage violators.
- BTC, Cable Bahamas, BEC, Taxi Drivers, all of these agencies / groups have radio communications, similarly when an incident such as a stolen vehicle occurs, they can be advised / alerted, and communicate their observations to the police. These individuals can be usually be seen entrenched in communities and even remote locations of the island.
- Harness the numerous security companies and departments that exist in the country. These groups outnumber the police and can be additional eyes and ears for observations.
- The use of CCTV Systems can be enhanced as operators can now focus their surveillance to targets identified by on the ground observers.
This is an initiative that does need to get caught up in the bureaucracy of government. It is just needs the appropriate funding and management oversight. It holds fast to the concept of the ‘Community Policing’, which places some fundamental responsibility and functionality of law enforcement in the hands of the citizenry.