Don’t blame police for the shortcomings of parents, guardians and communities who continue to turn a blind eye as deviant behaviour and criminal activity unfolds around them.
That was the admonition of Attorney General, Dale Marshall as he appealed for citizens to take a more proactive approach to crime particularly in rural areas including his constituency of St Joseph.
While lauding recent police efforts to arrest the crime situation, Marshall declared that the fight against those who have “no purpose” other than to destroy the country and the way of life that citizens enjoy, requires greater involvement from citizens.
“The point is that we all have an obligation to save our communities. The police come after things happen, but I really want you to start giving police the opportunity to come before things happen.
“The responsibility for saving our communities rests on us first, and whether it is in Blackman’s or Claybury or Lammings or Cane Garden- wherever it is, when you see it, report it,” Marshall told a political meeting recently.
The AG noted: “There are some little children who are bad behaved and their parents just look at them and smile and do nothing and then when they grow up into hooligans, you want to know how they got so.
“That’s not a comment on anybody’s parenting style, but I am just making the point that if we don’t nip certain things in the bud, when they grow into full blown problems, we really can’t be walking around criticising the people who are trying to deal with it,” he stressed.
Last week, 25-year-old Renaldo Hope was shot by police near Bowling Alley, St Joseph. Lawmen said they were patrolling the area heading towards Horse Hill, St Joseph when they encountered a man being chased by another “armed with a silver-coloured revolver”.
Such incidents according to the AG are occuring much more frequently in his constituency and other rural areas.
So concerned is he about the reluctance of his own constituents to report crime to lawmen, he offered to act as an intermediary between them and the police.
“There are some communities in St Joseph where people do not want to call the police for a young fellow with a gun because he is someone’s child and they don’t want to get him into any kind of trouble… until they become the victim of a crime.
“If you don’t want to report it, call me…and I will pass it onto the police, because if we can help to solve these problems before they reach that point, then our communities would go in the right direction,” he urged.
The AG noted that the surge in rural gun violence occurred over the last two years, prior to which residents had no need to worry about gunplay.
“But I have to remind people that the shortest distance from an at-risk community in St. Michael to St Joseph is no longer than a bus route and we are already beginning to see signs of that kind of instability in our rural communities. So none of us is immune.
“It is not just a question of hiring more police. We have to begin by dealing with it as community-minded individuals. If you see it, report it. If you suspect it, report it, because tomorrow if you don’t report it, that gun could be pointing directly back at you,” the AG warned.