JIS News

Opposition Deputy Spokesman on National Security, Dr. Donald Rhodd, has said that while debates centre on crime fighting initiatives, it is becoming increasingly important for policy-makers and stakeholders to address the causes or root of crime.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday (June 3), Dr. Rhodd said that crime is now regarded as the most pressing problem affecting Jamaica and has emerged as one of the most critical security challenges facing the region.
“Addressing crime, requires a combination of institutions, as well as partnerships between the state, citizens and civil society. Citizens have a unique role to play in crime fighting, they are the fundamental bridge and can close the gap between the community and the state,” Dr. Rhodd said.
He said that crime control has become a central developmental issue and an important public policy concern in most Caribbean countries.
Dr. Rhodd outlined three areas of focus that he believes is important to stemming crime in the country.
He pointed to mentoring models for young males at risk, as crucial to reducing the impact that delinquency has on communities, families and youth. Noting that men, ages 19 and under, account for approximately 25 per cent of Jamaica’s population, and as such, it is important that this group is targeted.
Dr. Rhodd noted also that building trust between the citizens and the security forces is important, pointing out that trust and integrity as cornerstones of effective policing.
“An environment of intense hostility towards the security forces creates several challenges to protecting citizens. Appropriate mechanisms must be tailored to foster trust, cultivate dialogue and social cohesion between citizens and the security forces,” Dr. Rhodd said.
The third area of focus pointed out by the Deputy Opposition Spokesman was models of citizen involvement in crime fighting. Dr. Rhodd said that the involvement of residents in maintaining public safety in their communities has long been a subject of interest to the criminal justice community.
“The major theoretical argument behind this claim is that people who live together in the same community possess a synergistic capacity to regulate the behaviour that occurs in that community. Violence prevention at the local level is imperative,” he said.
Dr. Rhodd informed that citizen involvement in crime fighting is necessary to alleviate the escalating levels of crime, noting that, the community is the most intensive point of police-citizen contact.
“Any democratic solution to the problem of crime control and the police-citizen relations must include people participation at the source of the problem; the community is perhaps the best unit for both understanding the problem and developing workable solutions,” the Opposition MP said.

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