Editorial: Crime is everyone’s business

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There has been a spate of serious crimes across the nation and there are no signs of a reprieve any time soon. In a word, people are scared.  
It does not help that there has been no words coming from officialdom to provide any comfort to the worried. Instead, social media has erupted with reports and rumours of crime and suggested means of staying safe or, in some cases, citizens taking matters into their hands. We want to speak out against that kind of thinking up front. Under no circumstances should citizens consider any type of vigilantism. That would be irresponsible and a clear sign of societal decay.  
That said, we are not promoting that we become passive victims to crime because everyone has the right to defend themselves from attack and physical harm. What we are suggesting is that people be responsible and support the authorities. They are trained to handle criminals, the ordinary man-on-the-street is not. Do not take matters into your own hands, unless there are no other options to defend yourself.
All of the public crime-chat has fuelled the kool-aid drinkers to attack or defend, as their colours dictate. The result is as can be expected; a downwards spiral that is frustrating the public. Most frustrated by the fact that there is no one stepping up and taking a firm, public stance against the crime that is beginning to paralyse the nation. 
In our society, crime is not a political thing. Yes, politics plays its part and ultimately political policy dictates the response to crime, but criminals do not care about a person’s political affiliations when they are seeking to line their pockets with other people’s money. These cowards are the real economic terrorists in the country. They seek to deprive people of their freedom and the right to enjoy the benefits of their hard work, all for their personal gain.  
Because of this, we must all rally together to battle the criminal elements around us and that battle starts with their supporters. As we have stated many times before, somebody knows something.  Somebody close to these criminals knows what is going on or has a suspicion that something is going on.  Antigua & Barbuda is too small a community to hold secrets. 
There is a well-known theory that states: “The odds of keeping a secret are inversely proportional to the square of the number of people who know it.” We are unable to cite the originator but we accept the overall concept – the more people who know a secret, the less chance it stays a secret, and the relationship is not linear.
That said, we seem to be bucking that trend here in our bit of paradise. Here, we have three, four and sometimes more, criminals perpetrating a crime and it remains a secret. It is hard to believe that no one confides in a friend or family. No one in the group has a conscience to reveal their wrongdoings to a wife or a husband, or boast of their deeds to a girlfriend or boyfriend. How is that possible? 
The answer to that question remains outstanding but it is probably rooted in our culture. Our political tribalism has pushed us towards a selfish ‘what’s in it for me’ perspective on life. No longer are we our brother’s or sister’s keeper. We live for ourselves and those close to us.  
Community responsibility has waned and there is seemingly little effort to revive it. The rhetoric from all levels of society is aggressive, defensive and dismissive of responsibility. Even in the case of crime, there is no one accepting responsibility for fighting against the tide. The first and most important line of defence is ‘all of us’ but very few put up their hands to acknowledge that responsibility. The second line of defence is law enforcement, but while they accept that responsibility, it is not accompanied by accountability.
We can all point our fingers all we want but that will do nothing to help the crime situation. What we need is a coordinated approach to crime fighting that is rooted in our communities and spreads to all branches of society and government. Until and unless that happens, we will always be at a disadvantage to the criminals who seem to do a better job of being their criminal brothers’ keeper.    
Let us not cower in silence. Stand up and be counted in the fight against crime. Support the police and let us all stamp out the cowardly criminal element in our society. 

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