Combating crime: Arms or intelligence?

Ghana Policeparade The police, according to some analyst, is not well resourced to fight crime

Thu, 1 Mar 2018 Source: Gbolu Samson

I am still finding it difficult to come to terms with the escalation of daylight armed robbery attacks in the country, especially Accra.

The security services keep assuring the public they are in total control over the situation. It’s good to give such assurances in situations like this. But I think one of the best ways of boosting the confidence of the citizenry in the security service is for the security service to take action.

They should expedite their crime combat game to curbing the current situation at hand and also bring perpetrators of these acts into book as quickly as possible. It is one of the best ways in crime combat, since it will deter other criminals from embarking on same mission knowing that they will be apprehended if they carry out same mission.

I sat in public transports across three different Regions yesterday (Wednesday), and the reactions from majority of the average Ghanaian to these recent armed robbery attacks suggest that most civilians would want to resort to self-defense. They would want to own small arms to defend themselves against these kind of robberies. And this is obviously not good for the security of this country. It would also go a long way to defeat our long-term fight against illegal possession of small arms and ammunitions.

I have no knowledge in security or combating crimes of this nature, but it is also true that the police or the security service can never fight crime in isolation – they definitely need to rely on the layman/ordinary citizen to fight crimes of this nature.

My take:

It’s good the police service go after these criminals who are on the run for the crimes they have committed, but they should not channel all their arsenals and energy into that and forget about the fact that they have to put immediate sophisticated and proactive measures in communities to make it difficult for such crimes to thrive.

The police service and other security agencies who matter in fighting these kind of crimes should make good use of their intelligence units. Looking at the sporadic nature of the robberies; being carried out within a particular geographic area; executed in daylight, paint clear picture of some kind of highly networked organized criminals executing these crimes.

I have heard the police lament severally over inadequate logistics to combat crime. That could be true, but in my layman’s opinion, I think they should also be relying more on their intelligence to be able to track the plans of these criminals, so that even before these criminals come out of their hideouts to execute their plans they are apprehended.

I respect bankers. And most of them have high level of morals who will never compromise their morals and ethics of their profession even if their lives are on the line. But you will also agree with me that we may have bad nuts among these professionals. Our security services (especially the police service) should liaise with employers of financial institutions to mount some kind of surveillance on the people they employ to work in banks and other financial institutions.

I am alluding to the fact that it would have been very difficult (if not impossible) for these robbers to carry out their plans in daylight successfully, unaided. Again, daylight crimes/robberies cannot be so successful (like we have witnessed recently) if they are not highly networked and organized. Like in the case of the attack on the Lebanese, some sort of linkages should be drawn, from where the victim took that sum of money and the intended destination of the said amount. I am looking at a scenario of possible accomplices from these two points.

Most of my readers might have experienced this: last two years and even early last year, I have had these fraudsters call my phone with purported foreign numbers, posing as relatives living abroad. Many people got duped through these calls. There was one thing I observed in that trick. For the countless number of calls which came from these fraudsters, they came only when I had few thousands of Ghana cedis hitting my bank account or mobile money wallet. A few checks I did from friends and families confirmed same. Is it by magic that these fraudsters are able to detect one has X amount of money hitting his or her account? I guess not. They must be getting information from somewhere.

I also think that whoever called for the discontinuation of the police visibility strategy, did the country a lot of disservice. As a matter of urgency, this laudable initiative should be reintroduced. Despite it might be capital intensive, it is one of the cost effective ways of preventing crime. The habit and culture of us sitting down, folding our arms for disaster to strike before we begin to take knee-jerk reactions will never move this nation forward.

And those of us who think that this is the time to take advantage of the current happenings to harvest political points should desist from that. I have seen few of such posts on Facebook, and some partisan political morning show guests seem to be doing same. I think is not good for the development of this country. Let’s not forget about the fact that crime has no colour, and so tagging the current security crisis with political colours is baseless. Ah well, in this part of the world most people measure their success against the failure of their peers and friends, but not their goals and objectives. It could be the same reason why political extremists will always find course to rejoice over the woes of their opponents and count it as a plus to whichever political party they support.

I still believe in the IGP and his men that they will be able to bring these criminals to book and also live up to their core mandate of protecting lives and properties. But the police can’t do this in isolation, let’s all support the police to protect us.

Columnist: Gbolu Samson
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