Is Joblessness the Cause of the Very Armed Robbery?

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 Source: Baafi, Alex Bossman

Alex Bossman Baafi

There has been recent increase in crime more especially armed robbery in the country. From the notorious highways armed robbery cases involving the controversial mass rape, it seems that another dimension where the armed robbers attack people in their homes in broad day light is also assuming an alarming proportion. Just recently, our police officers on two occasions were called upon to confront armed robbers who entered people homes in broad day light at East Legon and professionally battled out the armed robbers. In these said instances, the armed robbers engaged the police in shoot-out melee but at the perils of their lives.

Very many concerned people are worried and trying to find out what is causing the upsurge in armed robbery that is causing fear and panic and state of insecurity that has therefore become a topical issue nationwide. Some of the people are of the opinion that the increase in armed robbery is due to multiplicity of factors. These include the influx of foreigners from our West African sub-region, increase in drug abuse with substances like marijuana, which is common in our society, effects of increase in dehumanizing conditions emanating from slums settlements in our cities, idleness and poverty arising out of mass unemployment of our youth among others.

In this article, I intend to focus on poverty and idleness that are borne out of youth unemployment the architect of deprivation and underdevelopment that virtually tends to breed crimes of all form including armed robbery.

Everywhere in the world unemployment is one of the critical macroeconomic variables that governments make it priority to control and make sure that it is as low as possible. This is because unemployment, especially youth unemployment, is very expensive and when it is not managed properly, its far-reaching implications on any national economy are very disastrous.

Let me talk a little about the cost of youth unemployment or unemployment in general. The most obvious cost is loss of income of the unemployed. That means no money in their pockets. The longer they remain unemployed the more dispirited they become. Their self-esteem fall and they are forced to live substandard lives. Many become albatross burden to their families and the society in general. Unemployment in deed leads to increase in domestic violence, broken homes which results to the cyclical poverty and underdevelopment. The abject poverty leads to many social ills including many fathers in the country irresponsibly shirking their responsibilities as fathers culminating into more fatherless children in the society.

Interestingly, research had shown that the link between fatherless children and crime is so strong and overshadows most of the causes of crime including armed robbery and rape as we are currently experiencing in the country. For example, the following facts would buttress this point;

80% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. Credit: US Centre for Disease Control. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes according to the Bureau of the Census. 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes, says Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1998. 85% of youth sitting in prison grew out of fatherless homes in the case of Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992.

According to the findings of the research, in fact, one can pick a social ill at random and will find that the correlation with fatherlessness is clear and direct. Examples include depression, suicide, and drop out of schools, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, rape and many more. Again, fatherless children are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 32 times more likely to ran away, 20 times more likely to behavioral disorders, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of school, 10 times more likely to abuse drugs and 20 times more likely to end up in prison according to a British study.

If it is true that unemployment could result to mass social ills including fatherless children and hence subsequent rise in crime including armed robbery and rape then the onus is on government to take job creation and expansions very seriously. So far, the job creation and expansion drive of the Mills – NDC government is not the best. Many people have become jobless with the advent of the government. There were those who lost their jobs because they were perceived to be sympathizers of opposition parties. Security personnel that were professionally trained to handle sophisticated weapons during the NPP administration had to be dismissed by the coming of NDC administration under bizarre circumstances, very difficult for some of us to comprehend. This government is not doing enough in the area of job creation. Instead of expanding the social intervention programmes of the previous administration if the government cannot add new ones, all that they are engaging in is to remove all NPP perceived faithful and replace them with NDC sympathizers or foot soldiers in what has become known as “remove and replace policy” of this NDC administration.

To reduce joblessness problems the government should learn from the past administration’s the social intervention programmes. You just take the Metro Mass Transit for example; a single bus could employ at least two people at the same time, which are the driver and his collector. Though this intervention is very successful, the buses are not enough in the system in spite of it huge patronage. Why can the government not buy more busses? Mention will not be made by others such as the school feeding programme. In addition, the socialist policies of the government are killing businesses including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through excessive taxation. If the government cannot be in the position to create jobs because of certain conditionality constraints, it must create the enabling environment for the private sector to do so but the government policies are not encouraging that, hence, the unprecedented job losses the country is experiencing today.

In my opinion, joblessness is also contributing in no small measure to the current upsurge in crime including armed robbery and rape causing insecurity through fear and panic. The government therefore, in search for the solution for this expensive social ill, should not discount unemployment and sweep it under the carpet, probably because of the 1.6 million hoax jobs created by government last year in the figment of imagination of dishonorable Deputy Minister of Information, Okudzeto Ablakwa. If we do not walk the talk and stop that propaganda, we will not be out of our present predicament.

Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman