Dr Rajendra S Rampaul
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A crime-reduction plan with a difference
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago invoked a state of emergency, causing residents residing in certain hot spot areas to be subjected to the constraints of a curfew. Under such conditions, the rights of the citizenry are significantly curtailed. Indications are that under the Government’s instituted actions, incidences of violent crime have been substantially reduced.
While most citizens welcome the reduction in crime, many cry out for a more permanent and functional method of crime control. We are all anxious to learn of the Government’s long-term plan for controlling crime after the state of emergency and curfew are lifted. To date, the Government has yet to announce a crime reduction/ resolution plan to the nation that would serve to harness the crime problem and return the country to a state of normalcy.
Be it known
In order to reduce crime in T&T, the assistance of the public would have to be engaged on a greater scale. The means to facilitate this effort would have to be created. The aim would be to convince the public to report crimes to law authorities. The public are the eyes and the ears of the law and that fact must not be taken lightly. Additionally, witness protection programmes would have to be instituted to protect crime informants. It is only when potential crime informants feel safe in reporting crimes to the authorities, will they do so.
A state of the art electronic billboard network system should be considered as a part of any crime reduction plan of this nation. The primary aim of the electronic billboard network would be to instantly broadcast information to the public. A national network system of this kind would benefit law enforcement in their efforts to locate and apprehend fugitives of the law.
The units of the electronic network system would be placed in plain view of pedestrians and motorists. By invoking the help of the public via this mode of national notification, all eyes of the nation would be on the lookout for the person of interest to law authorities. Their whereabouts and eventual apprehension would be swift if not immediate. However, there are other noteworthy national benefits.
Additional benefits of billboard operation:
• National missing children/person notification capability
• Deterrence of criminal activity because of the fear of prompt apprehension by the law.
• National natural disaster alert system
• Increased informant participation in the “Report a Crime” initiative.
• Improved image of T&T by the international community
• Boost the morale of law enforcement as there would be many more leads to be acted upon
• Increased law enforcement’s crime to arrest ratio.
To complement the electronic billboard network system, a reliable and trustworthy method of crime reporting would have to be established. The system should be one that instills confidence in the citizenry. They would have to be assured that their identity would not be revealed. This option for fighting crime in T&T is a workable and non-invasive solution to the problem. It awaits the adoption by the stakeholders of the nation.
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