More cam­eras, not more po­lice cars

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -


LAST WEEK, the na­tion breathed a sigh of re­lief when Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Robert Mon­tague con­fi­dently as­sured us that ad­di­tional troops were headed to St James and that that should ease the crime prob­lems there. By the end of what The Sun­day Gleaner calls ‘Hell Week’, 15 per­sons had died vi­o­lently in that area and sev­eral oth­ers else­where.

The po­lice force is more than 14,000 strong. Add to that num­ber the Ja­maica De­fence Force, with its ships, air­craft and spe­cial­ist equip­ment. Its in­fantry bat­tal­ion is strate­gi­cally de­ployed in four lo­ca­tions so that a mil­i­tary pres­ence fa­cil­i­tates quick re­ac­tion and smooth de­ploy­ment of troops into op­er­a­tional ar­eas.

But af­ter years of try­ing, even the most sym­pa­thetic sup­porter has to ad­mit that what­ever the au­thor­i­ties are do­ing just is not work­ing. And if I hear one more of­fi­cial us­ing this duppy story about ‘lotto scam’, I am go­ing to burst a blood ves­sel. What­ever the prob­lem is, why aren’t we mak­ing any head­way?

Dur­ing that same week, there were three scary in­ci­dents in the US. Many were in­jured, oth­ers died. In the twin­kling of an eye, the sus­pected per­pe­tra­tors were caught. How come? Is it be­cause the US is rich and pow­er­ful? No! It’s just that their peo­ple are think­ing.

From the time I was able to read de­tec­tive nov­els, I learnt that crimes were solved be­cause of in­for­ma­tion that was made avail­able to the po­lice. Today, we also have the as­sis­tance of tech­nol­ogy. So when that bomb went off or the young­ster started shoot­ing in that store, the first thing they went for was tech­nol­ogy – the cam­eras. That helped them to iden­tify a suspect.


As soon as that hap­pened, his im­age was on ev­ery tele­vi­sion screen – ev­ery­where. In a jiffy, the per­son sought was spot­ted by a cit­i­zen and held. Does this process re­quire some su­pe­rior skills? No!

The shape and char­ac­ter of our se­cu­rity sys­tem should be de­vel­oped based mainly on the con­flicts preva­lent in these so­ci­eties. We are not en­cour­aged to sup­port the po­lice. But even if some of us are so in­clined, how are we to do that?

‘Duppy Flim’ has been wanted for years. Does any­one know what ‘Duppy Flim’ looks like? Is he the young man that asked to use my bath­room yes­ter­day? I do not know! Be­cause his iden­tity is a big se­cret. Con­di­tions in west­ern Ja­maica are of such that the area should be flooded with cam­eras. It is cam­eras that the po­lice need now – not more cars!

The coun­try is scared. And when a na­tion’s po­lice force is backed up by its de­fence force and all the re­sources that the na­tion can muster and the crim­i­nals are still win­ning, it is time to be re­ally scared. Trus mi. GLENN TUCKER Stony Hill glen­

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