Diplomatic Notes

Solving crime: a focus on results

T

he year is 2022 and the same question remains on the minds of government officials, business people, citizens, parents and even children: What can we do to solve the crime issues? We have seen a proliferation of murders in the past year, many associated with persons on bail. The police and other crime fighters have pointed to gangs, drug wars and retaliations as the main cause. Unfortunately, the perpetrators have become more brazen and no longer attack during the dead of night or out of the view of the public. Some are now attacking in the middle of the day, anywhere they see their enemies with no regard for stray bullets or innocent lives. 

The crime issue remains a thorn in the side of a country that cannot afford crime to be the headline and calling card of its brand. Against this backdrop, we have to consider what is the most viable option in addressing the crime situation. In making this determination, I believe we have to determine what has brought results in the past and what is likely to bring results in the future. 

As one who has worked in the field and on the streets for over 40 years, I have seen and can verify what has brought results and this has to be our focus if we want results now and in the future. What has brought results is active engagement with young people that is relationship-based and focused on building character and morals in young people. Law enforcement plays the part of enforcing the law, but the law does not change hearts and minds; it simply prevents the perpetrators from harming society. This is a most essential component but it will not solve crime if more criminal minds are being developed to replace the ones who are incarcerated. 

I have seen the lives of young men and women with criminal backgrounds turned around because caring persons intervened, built relationships with them and presented the gospel to them. I have seen drug addicts make a complete turnaround, end their addictions and become productive citizens through the gospel. I myself have experienced a dramatic turnaround from being a menace to becoming a mentor. 

The most powerful tool in the fight against crime is relationship-based programs and interventions directed at vulnerable populations that are sustained and systemic. Sports programs, youth programs, church programs, and personal interventions by mentors is what has brought results and is what we need more of. Programs like Urban Renewal, boy and girl scouts, boys and girls brigade (although these have declined over time), Governor General’s Youth Award, Operation Redemption, Peace On the Streets, Youth Alive and similar programs have produced massive results. Our focus should be on strengthening these programs and training workers to be the agents who go into the community and intervene before the gangs and local terroristic organizations capture our youth. 

The problem is not that we do not have a solution or do not know what the solution is. The problem is that we do not have the numbers to combat the decline in parents who would have been the ones to do this job in the past. We must therefore train more individuals to be change agents. We must train parents, teachers, businesspeople, civic organizations, church leaders and workers to be the persons on the ground in the lives of young people. We have the solution but not enough bodies to make the difference we need to make. Each of us has a decision to make if we want to solve crime. We need to either get directly involved and become trained or we need to contribute to the programs that are doing the work. We cannot say we want crime to be reduced and simply sit on the sidelines and do nothing. We must focus on solutions and results. A new initiative is coming that addresses this issue head-on, so stay tuned for more information or contact me directly if you want to help. You have a role to play, so let us get to it.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange. 

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