High Cost of Crime

first_imgThe fear of crime in any society is as damaging as the act of crime itself. It is emotionally taxing for the people who live in fear; the fear of crime can negatively affect residents’ behaviour, reduce community organisation and deter new businesses from wanting to open in the area for fear of being robbed.This adds to the economic woes of an area. Let’s face it: crime is bad in general, but generally bad for business. In Guyana, it appears as though no community, village or region is immune to incidents of crime.The perception of a community as crime ridden can deter people from going there and induce residents to move away. This causes damage to the economy. The local news is riddled with daily reports of robberies, murder, rape, etc. Undoubtedly, these stories will be circulated internationally, thanks in part to social media and increased connectivity. Potential investors will then shy away considering the risks involved. Who wants to invest in a high-risk environment?Just recently, one proprietor fell prey to robbers twice in one month, with millions in losses; he has said publicly that he is unsure if he will ever reopen. How many more victims and businesses feel the same way? If we are brave enough to face the truth, we can conduct a survey to get a better understanding of how the business community feels. To get their opinion on the future of doing business in Guyana.In order to prevent crime from happening, businessmen will then be called upon to ‘beef up’ security to protect their businesses; again whatever the measure employed, it comes at a cost.Let’s face it, as businesses and professionals leave the community, local government will miss the revenue generated by taxes and business rates. As the council’s budget declines, there may then be a reduction in services, such as waste collection and disposal. This, in turn, can affect the quality of life within the community, leading to potentially higher rates of crime. This cycle can have a directly negative impact on the community:There has been a call for increased entrepreneurship, for the young people of this nation to be the drivers of industry and the generators of employment. But it is left to the powers that be to ensure that the environment is such that it will foster this move.Besides the obvious unrest that is experienced by the business community and residents of a society that has crime, it is also felt in the pockets of taxpayers.New prisons and jails, community programmes and money for more Police protection all come directly and indirectly out of the pockets of taxpayers. Society loses when investing in new jails rather than paying employees higher wages.Some neighbourhoods involve themselves in programmes such as neighbourhood watches to prevent crimes. This too has a high personal cost. In areas where crime is prevalent, residents notice direct effects in terms of depreciated housing, education and job availability in the surrounding economy.The question remains, at what point does it all become too costly? We have seen far too many of our friends, neighbours, colleagues and associates pay the ultimate price. They have given their lives.And so we sit back and trust that our officials will craft an effective security plan or programme to tackle the issues at hand.Yes, we want to see our economy grow we would welcome new investors to our country and most definitely, we will benefit from increased entrepreneurship.However, if our country is to meet the growth targets that have been set, business must be able to operate in a safe environment.This can only be achieved through strong and sustained action by Government security agencies at all levels, supported by a culture of community participation in assisting with the detection and control of crime.It will take a collective effort and immediate action, but, as we have seen, the cost of doing otherwise is definitely too high.last_img read more