Mass Unemployment Is Contributing to Armed Robbery

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 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 the highway-armed robbery is on the ascendancy again.

Many concerned people are worried and trying to find out what is causing the upsurge in armed robbery because the state of insecurity these days had become a topical issue nationwide. In my opinion, 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 among others.

In this article, I intend to focus on poverty and idleness that are borne out of unemployment, which is architect of deprivation and underdevelopment that virtually tends to breed crimes of all forms 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 and underemployment are very expensive and when they are not managed properly, the far-reaching implications on any national economy are very disastrous.

Let me talk a little about the cost of unemployment in general. The most obvious cost is loss of income by 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 and broken homes that result 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 drive very seriously

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 a time, that is, the driver and his collector. Though this intervention was very successful, the buses are not many enough in the system in spite of it huge patronage. What is preventing the government from buying more busses? What about the school feeding programme? Is it not possible to expand it to cover more schools to create jobs for those interested in commercial farming to produce more? The government should review its excessive taxation policies that are killing businesses including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). If the government cannot be in the position to create more jobs because of certain conditionality constraints, it must create the enabling environment for the private sector to do so. It may include availability of credit and inputs to farmers, tax holidays and technical support for young enterprises.

In my opinion, joblessness is also contributing in no small measure to the current upsurge in crime including armed robbery and rape causing insecurity in the country. In search for the solution for this unacceptable social ill, the government should not discount unemployment and sweep it under the carpet. The government must accept the responsibility to tackle the problem of unemployment head-on and must be one of the main priority areas as part of its Better Ghana Agenda dispensation.

Email: abkbossman@yahoo.co.uk

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman