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Criminologists, sociologist: More guns not the answer

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seepersad: Broader approach to crime needed

For Dr Randy Seepersad, head of the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) criminology department, the 2,500 new guns for police officers is not the answer. In a phone interview yesterday, Seepersad said police officers already have weapons. He was not certain if the minister was bringing in the extra weaponry to correspond with an increase in the police force, but said the Government was taking a suppressive approach to crime. 


“They see crime as law enforcement. That is an important perspective but it is limited. They need to look at crime and the causes of crime from a broader perspective,” he said. He said the societal and preventative aspects of crime were needed.



Marshall: Be careful guns don’t get into the wrong hands
Sociologist and senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies Dr Ronald Marshall is warning Government about the recent order for 2,500 more guns. “We need to be careful about this you know, because we already have too many guns that are supposed to be in law enforcement hands...we need to be careful of it entering private hands.” 


Marshall believes that the proper regulations, checks and balances are not in place and can only add fuel to a situation already spiralling out of control. “More guns is not the answer...The bigger question becomes what are we doing with all this intelligence information we have? “What is the end product of all these intelligence information if they are not being used? How is it that with all this hi-tech equipment that has been imported and is being used from the first world countries that the bandits are one step ahead of the police?”



Cummings: Multifaceted approach needed
Criminologist Renee Cummings also agreed that more guns was not the answer. In an e-mailed response yesterday, Cummings said a multidimensional and multifaceted approach was needed. “Government must secure public buy-in and enroll the national community in its efforts to reduce crime and violence. Along with enforcement strategies, we need to see more community-based, non-enforcement violence prevention strategies that combine to create a comprehensive homicide reduction initiative,” she said. 


She said the nature of crime had changed and that the psychology of groups prone to lethal violence needed to change. Cummings said a new crime fighting paradigm of innovative homicide prevention and intervention strategies was also needed. The plans, she said, should use strategic problem analysis to better understand the nature of homicide and design actionable policies that make communities more resistant and resilient to crime and violence.


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