Crime Needs 21st Century Strategies to Combat
Chandigarh, Aug. 18, 2009
Crime is an illegal activity committed in violation of law for
which punishment is imposed upon conviction. It is an intentional
conduct that causes harm to individuals, groups or the society at
large. It is obligatory for the ‘state’ to eliminate
crime and safeguard its people. Government is further obligated
to initiate action to exact restitution, whereas the aggrieved party
must initiate action to receive redress. Almost without exception,
people all over the world believe that violent crime is increasing
and it has no territorial restrictions on its pursuit of profits.
No community or country whether it is America, Canada, Mexico, England,
India or China can boast to be an exception to the spate of crimes.
It is felt that the solution to this problem is known but commitment
and non-funding for reduction of crime has dramatically reduced
the chances. However agencies must share information freely with
one another, and they must work cooperatively in conducting organized
crime investigations and their suppression.
Demographically, by 2050, nearly three quarters of our planet
will live in cities. Public safety will be a key factor in determining
which city or the country they choose. Almost all the fastest-growing
countries in the world are suffering from some growing pains--a
sharp increase in crime. Unfortunately, 21st century has seen the
monstrous increase in rate of gangs, drug trafficking, captivations,
death squads, terror, extra-judicial killings, murders and shootings
in the world. There is a huge community outcry. There should be
no hesitation in agreeing that public safety is the infrastructure
for a high quality of life. If people are afraid to walk our streets,
they won't purchase homes in the area. If people are not comfortable
coming into our neighborhoods or tour our cities or visit our country
or come to conduct business, economic development efforts will be
unsuccessful. Keeping in view the ongoing global development, the
safety of citizens should be the number one priority at different
levels of the government.
Gangs have been a major contributor to the growth of violent crime.
High ambitions for luxurious life are some of the basic reasons
for crime amongst youth who want to become super rich over night.
If we go deep into the seriousness for steep rise in crime, we are
convinced that crime is linked to unlawful manufacture and distribution
of drugs, organized gangs, greed, poverty, enmity, discrimination,
unemployment, domestic violence, easy availability of drugs and
guns in schools, declining academic standards in certain countries,
sex offences, racial bias and our collective inability to educate
We notice that several people break laws in our neighborhoods.
Many of them cross the boundaries of traditional values whereas
many of us keep silent to report the offenders. Most of our youth
are living in utopian wonderland to live princely life which needs
to be in notice of their parents. They want to enjoy all the extra
modern facilities of life without putting in labor, thus committing
crime to gather fortunes.
It is felt that our usual ways of dealing with violence are breaking
down. Sometimes the system players also become shady. Taken together,
these fears have convinced many community minded people that our
society is on the downhill. According to different reports, certain
countries are now becoming hubs of drug trafficking of marijuana,
cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, ecstasy and also haven for gangs.
Although efforts are afoot everywhere but prolific offenders still
manage to escape the clutches of law in all the countries. It looks
as if police and law enforcement agencies are helpless in cracking
down. Crime analysts feel that the sense of trust is missing between
communities and the police, resulting in little cooperation and
no communication between them.
By and large the parents seem to be under fear and helpless in
educating their children whose ambitions are too high. Youth are
allured to enjoy the glamorous status of million dollar mansions,
expensive cars, big boats and midnight rave parties. Without knowing
the consequences of their action, youth are fascinated to make money
through drug trafficking and other illicit means. Organized gangs
provide protection to such ambitious youth who are playing havoc
in our streets, cities and countries. At occasions, some youth also
undergo threats to work for particular gangs.
The best available public indicator of long-term trends in violence
is the murder rate, assaults, rapes, prostitution, home invasions,
robberies, cash transaction of millions, bullying, waylaying and
shop lifting which has become fashion of the day. People are under
fear when they are at home and under terror when outside home. Astonishingly,
some crimes are never detected, and some that are detected are never
brought to the attention of the law enforcing agencies or the police.
No doubt law enforcing agencies are struggling but it is still
a responsibility of the government to safeguard public and to proactively
address the growing crime problem. It has normally been a defensive
reason with police people saying that there was shortage of funds
and shortage of force to cope with increasing crime. Sometimes statistics
put forth by police and the government is prepared on insubstantial
grounds that further irritate the distressed public. That widens
the gap between law makers, its enforcers and the public in general.
This could either be due to failure in communication or non-filtering
of public perception of crime and reality of facts. However the
perception can easily be probed by generating positive publicity
through media, highly visible efforts and by developing partnership
with existing community crime prevention organizations.
Sometimes it is felt by community minded thinkers that police,
judiciary, parole system and prison environment is too soft and
lenient to deal with intensity of heinous crimes. The mode of running
concurrent imprisonment to repeat criminals is an act of mockery
with the victims and their families. Consecutive imprisonment is
seldom awarded. Under the fast changing circumstances in 21st century,
firm and befitting laws are needed for safety and welfare of common
people. It does not mean to write here that the insiders be treated
inhumanly but it must mean to mend their behavior to become good
citizens after their release from the jail. Let criminals pay for
what they did against law and the society.
Almost all the countries have diverse racial people, speaking different
languages and practicing various religions, cultures and traditions.
Law enforcing staff must have training for cultural sensitivities
which may help them in getting co-operation of multi-racial communities
to investigate and deal with passion for crime.
Youth are being attracted towards gang culture as their life style.
For making easy money, drugs are delivered on a simple telephone
call at home doors. Under the existing legal setup, there could
be no quick fix for complex problems created by mafia groups. Prevention
is better than cure. Emphasis on adopting sophisticated and modern
means like Hi-Fi and Wi-Fi technology would need to be laid for
rigorous checking of illicit trade inside country and at the borders.
Public and police services need to be manned by trained and culturally
sensitive personnel to help ease the multi-racial mix of problems.
Lots of people from diverse communities will have to be involved
to stop recruitment of youth into drug trafficking and gangs. Parents
would need to be educated to discharge their responsibility to aware
their children about harms of committing crime. For creating overall
awareness, police, socio-political authorities, religious leaders,
teachers and preachers need to hold seminars, interactive workshops,
forums, conferences, presentations in schools, dramas, discourses
at socio-religious places, radio-television talk shows and provide
information on internet. Production of print material in different
languages to educate people will have a beneficial impact. Promotion
of ‘neighborhood watch groups’ can make further difference
to curb crime. The law must provide balance by making it against
the criminals and in favor of victims. It is felt that there should
be zero tolerance for repeat offenders.
Police can play a preventive role in creating awareness by going
to schools and talking about social evils with teenagers and their
parents for eventual elimination of crime. Similarly police, government
and the community will have to make co-operative efforts to end
the evil by working jointly on education, prevention, intervention
and settlement issues. Mutual trust building is very essential.
Police authorities and border checking departments would need to
continue to provide up to date training courses on professionalism
to assure that its officers are well prepared when dealing with
different crimes and diverse community groups they serve. There
is no denying the fact that modern criminals are benefiting from
top notch gadgets of today’s technology. Without using the
sophisticated explosion of technology to suppress growing evil of
drugs, gangs and crime, we will be years away from success.
Let’s move towards better solutions. The idea of the crime
cure is that one doesn't need to resort to violence nor scams in
order to win in life. Together! We can stop crime and make a difference
to build a peaceful and better globe.
(Dr Raghbir Singh Bains is an encyclopaedist and drug therapist.
He can be contacted at +604-599-1314 in Surrey, BC, Canada or email: