The economics and psychology of crime

Dear Editor,

As a trained lawyer, albeit a defrocked one, I had extensive practice before the Criminal Defense Bar during my heydays. In fact, at any given time, I commanded 80 percent or more of the most heinous cases before all courts the Supreme and Magistrates’ included. The other 1,000-plus lawyers were obliged to literally, in some case, fight for the crumbs. As such, I came to understand the economics and psychology of crime and the causation.

I hate to say it but the politicians, across the gambit of political parties, and the police, do not have a single clue as to the causation of crime and the mental process therein involved. It would appear that their collective reaction is to expand the police force, throw additional financial and other resources to them; build bigger jail facilities; set up more courts, while recruiting ‘mediocre’ junior lawyers with little or no real-life experiences and to assume that criminal perpetrators should simply be locked up and throw away the keys.

They also love to announce crime suppression programs but few of them ever address the root causes of crime, in my view. A large number of our criminally charged Bahamians are, basically, youthful or young adults with next to no formal and extensive education. Many are raised in what is called single-parent homes led by equally youthful or young female “adults”, who themselves are products of these types of environments.

As a direct result, the bulk of them, in my view, have no marketable skills and lack the stabilizing presence of an on-site father or other male figure. The mothers are so busy trying to eke out a living, so many of them have no time to ‘love’ and nurture these alleged criminals based on Christian principles. Many of these misguided people find ‘acceptance’ and ‘love’ in all the wrong places which could lead to a life of crime; inclusive of serial homicides; rape; sexual abuse and human exploitation.

We all need secure sources of income. If you have no marketable skills or knowledge of how to legally earn a living, what do you think they will do? Rob, thief, kill and destroy all and sundry. These are the stark economic and psychological factors that have often been ignored by the powers that be at any given time. These data and facts are simple but they have all ignored and/or marginalized them, to our collective societal detriment, big time.

It is now being reported that the level of alleged homicides, the worst possible crime, in my view, is above 120 and counting. Perhaps, even as you are reading this missive, yet another alleged homicide would have occurred. We have another month in this year of Our Lord 2022. How many more will be wiped out while the politicians continue to ignore the necessity of a National Youth Scheme, by whatever name you wish to call it?

That scheme should be mandatory from the high school level until ages 18 or 21 as the case may be. Of course, there would be exemptions but by and large, such a scheme must be mandatory. Rehabilitation has been ignored by all administrations, so far. The ones that have been advanced makes absolutely no sense, at least to me, and are designed for mere political posturing and preening … no more, no less. Look at some of the celebrated crime consultants, with all due respect.

Do the majority of them inculcate and bring any new and effective proposals to the table or is it more of the same? The economics and psychology of crime must be addressed before anything else. Once we would have done this, we are then able to conceptualize real solutions. This administration has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get this crime plague out of the way but it will need political will power and focus. Anything less will not, in my view, cut it.


— Ortland H. Bodie Jr. 

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