A few weeks ago your newspaper carried an article from me in which I wrote that the police need to partner with the former criminals to aid in the reduction of the current crime rate and also solve old crimes. I used the then situation of Lennox Wayne, the alleged police informant who had supplied the police with information on planned robberies and the whereabouts of known criminals. I noted then that a best practice approach to the alleviation of crime in any country, is for the police to befriend those who are in the ‘know’ and use them as “helpers”.
Now we see that what I am suggesting makes sense. We are in the current news cycle of the shocking revelations of Mr. Shawn Hinds. Again, a former insider of the criminal underworld.
Mr. Hinds said that he did not do those crimes alone, neither did he do them of his own volition. As a criminologist this is interesting news to me. I would want to know who else was with him in the execution of his “duties?” The reason I would want to know that is because they too would have a piece of the puzzle and might be able to help fill in the blanks where he might have missed out.
I would also want to know as many of the executioners as possible because the more of them I have access to, the more a story could be corroborated. Not only for criminal proceedings but also to aid in the reduction of further similar crimes.
Then, of course, I, as a criminologist, would need to have access to as many of the perpetrators as possible because I am also interested in identifying the master minds of the crimes. The intellectual authors.
In my field, we speak of types of crimes: Larceny (theft), Robbery (theft by force), Burglary (entering a home or premise), Arson, Embezzlement, Assault, etc.
Then they are the causative factors for crimes. For example: Crimes of Passion (one might steal from someone or assault someone because of anger or jealousy); or Crimes of Convenience (one might pick up your phone, or watch, or money because you are not looking); or Political Crimes (one might need to acquire power, or stay in power, so they hurt or even kill those they see as threats).
So when Shawn Hinds, or Lennox Wayne, say that they committed crimes and that they had help, I would be all over that information. Because the more of the “helpers” I have access to, is the more I could reduce my crime problem, no matter what the types of crime or the causative factors are.
If I am lucky, I will also get to the originators of the crimes. Often times the person who executes the crime is not the major benefactor of the crime. Yes, he might have been paid, or politically incentivized, but there might well be someone, or a group, who has more to gain for the effects of the crime. So the reason I need all the “helpers” is so that I could get to the orchestrators of the crimes (the intellectual authors).
In my quest, therefore, what I must be careful NOT to do, is not to scare away my possible “helpers”. If I say that I will not provide them cover, or if I say that I will jail them, or if I say they have to face the full brunt of the law, I might unwittingly reduce the amount of “helpers” I could attract. Or I might even compromise the quality of the information I can receive from those I have already attracted.
If I remove any or all inducements, Maslow’s Hierarchy Law kicks in and self perseveration would dictate that my “helpers” no longer incriminate themselves. So while it is almost nauseating, I have to extend an olive branch to these possible “helpers”. And the more notorious they are it is the broader and more inviting my olive branch has to be. Because the information they provide might be sufficient to bring about a greater healing than the hurt they have already caused.
Let’s say that the arsonist burnt down two houses because he was paid to do so. If I befriend him, I might stop him from burning down five more houses and he might even tell me who paid him to burn down the last two houses.
Or let’s say the person killed 200 people because he was paid to do so. If I befriend him, I might stop him from killing 400 other people and he might tell me who paid him to kill the last 200 persons.
So while the temptation is to assess immediate judgment for past criminal activities, or indeed to leave the persons up to their own demise, as a Criminologist, I have to take a chance. I have to believe that there is a factual possibility that by entering this quid pro quo (something for something), I will bring about a greater good.
2020 is already shaping up to be an interesting year.
Pastor Wendell Jeffrey
Urban Ministries Coordinator, Seventh-day Adventists Organization
Public Relations Officer, Inter Religious Organization
Pastor W. P. Jeffrey
Practical Christianity Ministries
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