The security minister is cooing like a crow and patting himself on the back over the reported decline in the murder rates-yet still over a thousand persons were killed last year.
While it is great that we are having less people being killed, it cannot be a time for celebration and patting of backs. The minister shouldn’t be celebrating at all because if we are to go by one of his utterances earlier in the year when he begged God for his help-calling for “divine intervention” God should be given all the credit for the present reduction. Seems like He is helping out. It’s understandable however that he wouldn’t want to give God any credit as he is by nature a selfish man.
Many reasons have been advanced as to why the crime rate is down and undoubtedly many are credible and valid. One is that the police has gotten smarter in their intelligence gathering. While that may be so and must be applauded the police is still not up to scratch yet. The police must be given credit though as they have really tried their best and a lot of the raids that they have conducted, have resulted in the confiscation of guns and ammunition. The lotto scam industry also contributed significantly to the murder rate in previous years, but the concerted push of the anti-lottery scam task force, mostly at the insistence of the United States, has also helped to reduce the number of murders. And from all indications, the strategy is set to bare more fruit in the coming year as the police have indicated they will go after the scammers even more in 2015.
Another contributing factor for the significant reduction in the murder rate is the exportation of criminality to our immediate Caribbean neighbors. To me it’s no coincidence that while our crime rates are trending down, it’s going up in other Caribbean islands. Many of our hardened criminals have left the island and have utilized the idea of globalization, and the Caribbean single market and economy to set up shop in these islands and carry out their murderous acts.
They have left Jamaica for a variety of reasons, but one overriding reason is paramount in my mind and that is the shrinking economic base of the criminal economy. While the security forces have been strangling the lotto scamming industry, the cocaine industry and other illicit but profitable drug industries, the real economy itself hasn’t grown to allow criminals to target more ‘big shots’ to ransack their business places or extort money from them. Many businesses have gone under -and in areas once lucrative for extortion and robbery. The contract killing industry isn’t sufficient to sustain these criminal elements, as competition is very high there too, and potential customers are shopping around much more for the cheapest prices. So economics alone would by default require diversification into untapped markets outside of Jamaica and by virtue necessitate a reduction in this country’s murder rates. These criminals are not the dumb criminals of the past but have are becoming more technologically savvy each day and by virtue have information at their finger tips on how other criminal enterprises across the world have expanded into markets elsewhere when their home markets come under significant pressures by whatever forces.
It’s not hard to understand why this is so as we have all witnessed the evolving nature of criminality over the past thirty years. Criminals will always seek to move to greener pastures to continue their business and to reap its wonderful bounty. In the Caribbean region there are other islands that are more prosperous than we are and by virtue of that fact they have become more enticing targets for criminals than Jamaica. So by relocating they can do business and repatriate some of their ill-gotten gains to invest in areas that legitimizes them as lawful business entrepreneurs.
As they move to places like Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana we have seen those countries struggle with a crime rate never seen before. The thing is that, Jamaican criminals are very experienced in the art of criminality. When they set up shop elsewhere they swing into action immediately and with deadly accuracy. So what we are witnessing is the migration of the killing fields from here to over there, because of the economic potential of these nations. We saw a practice run earlier when the scammers were being pressed in places like Kingston and Montego Bay. They relocated to other areas within the interior of this country. Now they have gone global. Jamaican criminals are much smarter than we give them credit for. So the Minister really and truly needs to just sit down and use the breathing space now given to us by these criminals to fortify Jamaica, because when the pressure gets to them in the other islands they may return to Jamaica and decide that they will fight and scrounge for what they can get at home and then we may very well see the crime rate skyrocket.