Crime; let’s cut the supply

If you have been a victim of crime, you have probably wished criminals would get a first-class ticket on a speed train to hell – and you may even offer to pay for the [darn] ticket. It is so frustrating. A hoodlum recently grabbed my smart phone and made a dash for it; into the woods! I was crushed! But later on, I came to terms with the whole thing and thanked God that I was not hurt, like the many people I read and hear about in those hideous accounts.

The subject of crime and the discourses thereof are not uncommon. The ideas are innumerous, the discussions are all over, and the non-governmental bodies ensure we are constantly reminded of the northward-bound rates and how bad things are. Scarcely do they rant whenever the rates head south, but that’s a story for another day.

I have one solution to fix all this; CUT THE [darn] SUPPLY!

This strategy has been successfully employed in wars in the medieval times, the middle ages, and in the 19/18th centuries. The Fabian strategies for instance, attributed to the Roman Dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus, have historically been known to give smaller opponents victories against much larger antagonists. The more familiar ‘blockades’ employed during the two world wars might perhaps ring a bell. They involved cutting key supplies in enemy territories so as to weaken them. And I am not talking about the modern day ‘embargoes’ or sanctions, which are hardly effective [look at Somalia for instance]. I believe more than anything that these kinds of strategies will go a long way in our current war against crime.

Our main focus must shift from [the traditional] prosecution to inhibition. Historically, the development and enforcement of punitive measures have had, at best, an average impact on the rate of crimes. That’s good enough in the meantime you might say but there exists a more effective strategy; cutting the production of criminals in the society. Before you begin to admire the efficient enforcement and prosecution systems of Western countries such as the U.S., remember that they also have the highest incarceration rates in the world. They have over 2, 000, 000 people behind bars; which is approximately a quarter of the world’s total prisoners. China is second, with about 1, 500, 000 prisoners. However, we know that China’s citizenry is more than 3 times that of the U.S. The enforcement and prosecution standards of these two countries seem at par to me.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, half the total inmates by 2010 were barely 25 years old. If we can align our systems in such a way that it can cut or even constrict the number of criminals it churns out, we could be solving half of our crime problems in just a few years, and with a single swing of the bat. As for the other half, they can be reformed and reintegrated into the society; or else, they will have to enjoy the [now] larger rooms in their cells. And now we even know that lack and poverty is not the main motivation for many of today’s criminal acts.

Surely, the government can do well to restructure its Ksh 80 billion internal security budgetary allocation which nearly matches its allocation on health (Ksh 85 billion). It could set aside a few millions for programs that deal with the development and propagation of high moral virtues among its citizenry, particularly the lower segment of its youth population. Such programs may be integrated with existing systems, and the work being done by civil societies and the various faith-based entities.

The civil societies should also have a more comprehensive approach if they are to have any effect, whether direct or indirect, on the crime war. Not the kind of partisan endless yackety-yak and rants that they are synonymous with [the girl-child tirade, etc]. 78% of those incarcerated in our prisons are young males, so it may be a time to hold out the candle on the ‘boy child’ for a change.

In a nutshell; more guns, chase cars, and cops will not cut it; not in themselves. Let’s shut the taps!

@nasaye

facebook.com/nasaye

nasaye@gmail.com

**Statistics courtesy of E.A. Standard Online Edition, Wikipedia, and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

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