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Columns : Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Youth : Crime Stops and Begins with Them
By Gamal Newry
Sep 29, 2009 - 9:04:03 PM

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Sunday past saw my daughter and I at the launch of this years Junior Achievement Program. I was pleasantly surprised to see the ballroom at the British Colonial Hilton filled to capacity with parents and students alike. On a Sunday afternoon, to see that many young people out and most importantly supported by their parents is critical to development of a successful Bahamas. Investing in our future is good business practice, it ensure continuity of culture and nationhood. It in my opinion instills ethics, discipline and quality assurance necessary to succeed in today’s global environment. Kudos the numerous corporate sponsors represented, who have invested in young people. The BTC, BEC, Deloitte and Touche, and the Police Staff Association, just to name a few.

This standing room only turnout was a pleasant reminder that all is not lost, despite the bombardment of negative news, we must be reminded that these horrific stories that have filled our headlines over the last few years are in the first instance being committed by a handful of perpetrators. Good news however does not sell, thus their was a poor turnout of the media during this event. Secondly, many of the crimes today are being done by repeat offenders. Thus I can still comfortably say that it is not as bad as it may seem, never the less there is room for improvement.

You might be saying at this point, what does this have to do with crime and loss prevention?  Where does youth development and nurturing fit in to crime fighting? Simply put - 'Everything'. Investing in these young minds, via programs such as Junior Achievement, Boy's and Girls Brigade / Scouts, your church Sunday school  program begins the lifelong molding process necessary to develop good character ethics and morals. This does not mean that none of these persons will become criminals tomorrow, however what we are saying is, as mentioned, a small majority will fall to the way side. Also there is no excuse for criminal and deviant behavior. I will venture to say that there is no young person in this Bahamas, past or present, who has not been exposed to, or given an opportunity to, benefit from some positive program. Our claim to a Christian heritage has ensured that the great majority have been exposed to church is some form or the other.

Yet you will see by the statistics that crime, especially violent crimes are being committed by our young people. So what has gone wrong? I say nothing! I say we are experiencing the fact of the matter that we cannot save them all.  We live in a world where some of us will come up short and not meet the mark. 

Unfortunately we are focusing on the failure and not the successes. 

I put is to you -  Train up a child while they are young, and when they are old they shall not depart from it.  This of course means directing their paths at an early stage to avoid putting ourselves in a position of trying to correct the decay years in the making.            

But really we are allowing the fear of crime to take us down a path of potential desperation and panic, thus reducing our ability as a society to think of rational solutions. For example, I am a proponent of the death penalty. Not because of its deterrent qualities, but because it is 'punishment' simple and straight forward. It is not 'problem solving', 'reduction' or 'deterrent'. If these residual events take place then that is an added benefit. Solutions to our crime problem are multifaceted; I do not think there is a magic bullet. Thus the argument that the death penalty is not going to reduce crime is very true, as the sentence is only given after the crime of murder has already been committed. The 'penalty' can only be given after the 'foul'.

To stop the crime we must take serious efforts in assisting our youth especially young men and women, to better manage their anger and aggression. The cry for more hanging is in my opinion bordering on a lynch mentality, as it is a sign of desperation and frustration, an emotional grasping at straws. We are attempting to use punishment as a reward to deviant behavior, as opposed to stopping, preventing, and reducing opportunities for the behavior.

What then you may ask. Well I will not contradict myself,  so let us continue to pray not for peace but ways to create peace. You see folk’s peace and safety does not and will not fall from the sky. We must create this culture, a society of peace. This begins with teaching our young people structure and order, and demonstrating the benefits of the same.  They need to understand that rules and regulations lend to a civil society and directly affects the level of peace a nation experiences.

Now what about the young adults, those who are no longer kids, are we to toss them aside?  Well as the saying goes ‘bend the tree while it is young’. If we have missed this opportunity, then a more aggressive bending process needs to take place. Boat builders who wish to fashion wood for boats usually expose the wood to heat / steam and pressure. Similarly, our young adults who have fallen to the way side must be pressured and an exposed to heat that will attempt to purge the negative tendency. Boot Camps, that are geared to reintroducing social and problem solving skills that demand team work and group efforts. We need not wait for them to break the law, for I believe that by the time they are actually caught breaking the law they have gotten away at least ten times before. Alas folks, as mentioned earlier, some will fall to the wayside as the ‘Parable of the Sower' so clearly illustrates.

Never-the-less, remember and support with your time and money the Junior Achievers, Brigadiers and Scouts the numerous positive youth groups that have proven successful. All is not lost!

Gamal Newry is the President of Preventative Measures, a Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Training and Consulting Company, specializing in Policy and Procedure Development, Business Security Reviews and Audits, & Emergency and Crisis Management. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas or, email gnewry@gmail.com or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.net

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