Oct 09, 2019 Letters
Recent news reports highlighted security enhancements at the GPHC to combat the thievery that has become almost normal within that institutional complex. That much was suspected, but now made public. Now, I share what is not so public, but occurs right in the vicinity of the same GPHC and too frequently for comfort. Alarming, it is.
Scarcely a week passes by and there are these incidents involving agitated and despairing members of the public; those citizens who come with their physical pain or that of a close one, for which they seek attention and relief inside the fence of the GPHC. Outside that barricade, there is a different kind of attention brought to bear and with more pain inflicted. Minibuses are relieved of their batteries; other vehicles of their mirrors; and prayers are offered for any distracted enough to leave an enticing package or bag in full view on the seat of a locked but unattended vehicle.
Many are the reports of losses. It could occur in the narrow space of half an hour, and the longer that machine lingers, the greater the likelihood of skilled and resourceful thieves registering yet another success. Nearby residents are approached for camera review and possible helpful footage; lots of times, victims simply throw up their hands and go through the motions of filing necessary police reports and move on. The odds of recovery of stolen items are slim to nonexistent.
There is a lot of speculation as to how this could be. That is, how these brazen, daylight thefts could unfold with such efficiency and frequency, with not a single soul noticing anything on any occasion. That’s the first concern; there are several more, and each more troubling than the one before.
First, the breaking into and accessing of vehicles do not take place on Lamaha Street, which is less traveled on foot, but more on wheels. The incidents happen on one specific side of the GPHC perimeter -East Street. Now, on any regular weekday, East Street is so clogged, that residents wonder how an ambulance with a life-threatening emergency would get anywhere. It could be entrapping and time consuming, when minutes make a difference. Vehicles are parked and doubled-parked all along the street; patients and families and passersby are going back and forth; and the same could be said for professional personnel. The question is this: how could these criminal vehicular invasions continue without detection? As that is pondered, it is not all, for there is more in terms of human presences.
For, second, there are security officers at different points along the street, they are stationary, they are watching and knowing (to some extent), and there are taxi operators parked and with eyes on the lookout for the next fare. Yet the burglaries continue, but no one sees or knows anything.
Third, the removal of a battery or a mirror (or most other items) requires some time, no matter how brief. Some removals take longer than some. Also, a motor vehicle battery (especially a minibus one) is not something placed in the pocket of perpetrators followed by drifting off innocently, or in a rush, as circumstances allow. Still, silence and ignorance reign.
My thinking is that all of this is too smooth, too practiced, too calculated to be either random or innocent of helping hands. Those on the lookout, whether those working in the area, or well-dressed, unobtrusive scouts, monitor for those arriving and heading into the hospital, the deeper they go into the bowels of that facility, the greater the window of opportunity. Who could be these collaborating helpers? The field is thick with those who are more than uninvolved bystanders or patients or drivers or paid personnel; those who function as partners, and the advance men and women, who would not merit a suspicious glance, or fit slickly into the ebb and flow of activities. E net is wide. The main point is that the thieves have help. They have so much help, that there is unconcern, even when throngs are around. The CPL match and what followed stands as evidence. Crowds do not matter anymore: indifferent or intimidated or ignorant.
My next point is this: the thinly spread law enforcement apparatus cannot be everywhere. Private personnel oversee inside the GPHC. But somehow and sometime (even randomly), the police human resources must be found to address the traffic bottlenecks to the hospital; the mini-crime waves around the hospital; and the threats to life and property that ensue. This society has deteriorated to such a deplorable state that daylight does not matter, crowds do not count, parking rules do not exist, basic civilities do not register, and crimes do not have any restraining line. Quite candidly, the police itself may not matter.
My closing thoughts are that, the pent-up criminal energies that once found outlet in trafficking and securitising and fronting a certain variety of commerce have been rechanneled and redirected against the more visible and more imperiled populace; that, given where this country perches uneasily, already savaging elections will intensify matters and furnish cover for wide-ranging criminal perversities; and that citizens will only take so much for so long, before matters degrade to the final frontier: privateer solution. As is known, some of that have been experienced.
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