Saint Lucia’s crime situation is a popular topic of discussion among saints and sinners alike. But seldom do you hear about its possible causes. I add my own analysis perchance to contribute to sensible research and how we may finally combat and beat the growing problem. I do so for the best of all reasons: love of country. Better parenting, better schooling, better policing and big brother mentoring have been suggested. Some have pointed an accusing finger at parents— the crucible of early nurturing —severely criticizing them for their children’s crimes. But what of parents themselves? What do we see when we look in the mirror?
Are wayward parents capable of seeing clearly what’s in front of them? I argue that many parents see their problem children as normal. Some have been blinded by a life without love, only abuse. Such parents view society and its institutions as their enemies. They avoid as best they can all encounters with authority. They talk about God only in the context of God will provide. By which they refer to material things.
Then there are parents deeply uncertain of whom or what they are. These have never embraced the languages of the British or the French, neither their culture. They live each day in a state of doubt, in limbo. Raising a child from an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy adds another burden. There is a third category of normal, intelligent people who use crime to further enrich themselves. These are known as white-collar criminals, which has less to do with their clothes than their status in society, their jobs and so on.
A fourth category is hypocritical grandparents who know where the grandchild keeps his firearm, his drugs and loot but pretend to be nuns with one foot in the grave when the police investigators come calling.
Long-neglected abuses by the authorities, brutality at the hands of society’s paid protectors, and other negative factors have resulted in a total loss of confidence in the police. The lack of clarity in apprehension, detection and resolution has eroded confidence in the criminal justice system. There appears an uncaring lack of clear purpose. Such attitudes lead to frustration and the temptation to take matters into one’s own hands. Perhaps the struggle for a clear national policy first needs to be resolved before one can develop the self-confidence necessary to properly guide and manage. To educate children as citizens with rights, privileges and responsibilities may be the first step in the attack on criminal conduct.
We tend to avoid our history, (both personal and national) and instead embark on an emotional rather than a scientific path of defining ourselves. Some have jettisoned the word Creole for Kwéyòl even though the vast majority of Saint Lucians continue to use the word patois to mean the same thing. Different people see different things when they gaze into the mirror of their soul, from a Kwéyòl or English vantage point. That monumental question of identity needs to be faced with candour and insight. Unfortunately too many of us are prepared to suspend all belief, including the accepted imbalance in the mores of a mixed-up society. Instead, we stand aside as dumb, mute sheep and let criminals run free. Perhaps the good Christians that we are, we do not wish to cast the first stone.
Criminals are often opportunists who resort to the simpler and easier choices for survival. This is a sort of Occam’s razor approach to life even though some have never heard the term. Occam’s razor (also called Ockham’s razor) is a simple philosophy which states that if there are two or more explanations to an occurrence, the simplest answer is often the correct one. Perhaps this explains why, in certain situations, petty theft, praedial larceny and stealing answer immediate needs. It explains why small businesses are more often attacked than those with elaborate security.
It takes someone familiar with Occam’s razor to get to the mind of the criminal. Such a person knows and understands that escalating crime must not be over-thought or reasons multiplied beyond absolute necessity. Such persons are aware that a lack of job opportunities have historically, never led to crime. It often takes more than unemployment for a person to commit an act which may deprive him of his freedoms.
To further help explain escalating crime there is the null hypothesis. It says that there is no significant difference between two variables or specified populations, any observable difference being due to sampling or experimental error. Are the majority of us therefore, potential criminals? This null hypothesis approach is necessary to prove or disprove theories that a lack of jobs leads to crime. There is no proven scientific finding for such an assertion but people keep making it nonetheless.
Any scientific study of crime ought to be undertaken by persons who are familiar with the philosophies of Occam’s razor, and the null hypothesis. The best persons for such a task are those who consistently used Occam’s razor in their journalistic profession and writings. Persons who understand the concept of verisimilitude (truthfulness) and are familiar with the effects of history, religion, and politics on some parents also come to mind. A third person ought to be versed in scientific research; agriculture for example, using the null hypothesis. The three-member panel should be ages 55-75.
The tendency to blame poor policing for escalating crime will not solve the problem. The police are not the major factor in the cure for crime – law-abiding citizens are! We need to embrace the idea of verisimilitude or truthfulness. It is a philosophical concept that distinguishes between relative and apparent truth and falsity of assertions. There is no such thing as alternative facts. The sooner we learn that, the better to battle the odds in crime prevention.