You are here
21st century bellyaching Pt 2
Several incidents over the course of the past week have inspired me to revisit the topic of crime given what is an obvious surge. We are all outraged at the brutal killing of Indra Gangabissoon. Surely, most of us pine for the days of the humble “burglar” who would break in during your absence, making off with items which can easily be replaced. Now it seems the monsters which infest this country can kill a human being as easily as they would light a cigarette; all for a paltry $3,000.
Also this week a friend in my neighbourhood was the target of bandits who left in their wake terror in the hearts of his children that will not easily be expunged. Can you imagine seeing a hand reaching through the burglar-proofing to snatch a laptop off the bed?
This incident occurred at 8.30 in the evening and everyone was at home. The Gangabissoon murder occurred during broad daylight. The killers, it would seem, stalked Indra and her husband and pounced on them in a moment of weakness. The crime by which we are besieged today is a direct result of the confidence that criminals have in the Police Service to be absent during the commission of these heinous violations.
Criminals are entering our homes and slitting our throats, bludgeoning our skulls and shooting us at close range because they are comfortable in the knowledge that if the police ever responded to the report, it will be so late that they would have already divvied up the proceeds of their murderous enterprise and be in the planning stages of the next robbery with assault.
Bandits routinely access my neighbourhood through a canal which dissects the community. Most of the robberies are random; they jump fences and peer into windows hoping to get lucky. They do this because they are certain there is absolutely no possibility of being confronted by police officers shining a torchlight in their faces and asking what business they have jumping into a canal from the main road at night.
The Police Commissioner has spoken at length about the initiatives he has been attempting to introduce and the strident opposition which has been encountered. The latest recommendation is that some of our police posts be abolished to allow for a better connection between the service and the communities by having officers on the streets.
Officers, the concept imagines, can respond more rapidly to incidents of crime; indeed their very presence should theoretically prevent the crime in the first place. I’m not talking “minority report” here, this is just common sense. Sgt Ramesar, naturally, has objected, stating that police posts engender confidence and comfort in hot-spot areas.
What, pray tell, is the point of having a police post that citizens only visit to make reports? Why not just go to the police station and have your report ignored there?
This week I got the shock of my life when I saw three police officers patrolling the streets of Woodbrook. I wanted to take a picture so that I could have the image independently verified by an expert but the opportunity was lost. The value of boots on the pavement is immense. My fragmented memory can recall a story about a police officer on a motorcycle who would dominate his beat with an iron fist.
Students released from their daytime detention camps would often congregate in Curepe. The boys would flood the video arcades and the girls would preen at the maxi stand chatting up the tout by whom they would most likely eventually be impregnated.
This officer would just appear like a squall, “You, where you livin’? Get in dat maxi! An’ you! You have lessons rong here? No? Well get in de maxi! Come come! All ah all-yuh, get in de maxi and go home.” Within minutes the maxi stand would be clear of delinquents and potential teen mothers and their bandit spawn.
The reason that this enterprising police officer’s exploits qualified as “news” is because it was perceived as rare for officers to be doing …well, police work. Not to malign the many good policemen and women out there (and there are many) but a reporter’s encounter with a police officer is most often at a crime scene.
Sgt Ramesar offers another reason why Gibbs’ plan will not work. “Where is he getting all of these vehicles and manpower to do these patrols?” Well the Ministry of National Security is certainly not under-funded. What is needed is proper fleet management so that vehicles are routinely serviced and officers do not drive them without oil until the engines seize, as has happened in the past.
As for manpower, there are an estimated six or seven thousand police officers in the force. Twen-ty-first century policing, as I understand it, envisions the proper deployment of these resources so that officers are not sitting guarding a trailer while bandits are rifling through your delicates.
• Next week I propose to address what society’s responsibility is in the battle against this pernicious cancer
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.