More J'cans becoming informers - Calls to Crime Stop double in September
In less than a month, since the 'Cash For Guns' initiative was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Prudence Gentles, the manager for Crime Stop, said the number of calls to her office has increased.
"We have received 24 calls since the start of September. Last month (August), we received 11 calls for the whole month, so I know it has now more than doubled," she said.
One of these calls resulted in the recovery of one AK-47 rifle.
However, Gentles was keen to point out that there is a possibility that she has not received feedback from the police about whether more weapons were seized through the information that Crime Stop has provided.
"The partnership goes on further than the ZOSO (Zones of Special Operations). They have a $100 million to pay out, so I suppose it goes on until the money is finished. But this is not just about the ZOSO area, it is all around the island," Gentles said.
Reward for contraband
Meanwhile, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of West Indies, Dr Orville Taylor, says he supports the 'Cash For Guns' programme, noting that "In law enforcement, the whole idea of a bounty or reward for contraband has been a staple, so I don't think that there is anything particularly unusual about it."
"At the end of the day, it means that a gun will come off the street. And, ultimately, that is what you mainly want to have and I would say that is a plus," he added.
While Taylor believes that there is a possibility that criminals might provide information about the whereabouts of their own guns to collect money under the initiative, there are other persons who know where guns can be found and are willing to share the information that they know.
"People may have excess capacity within their gangs, and as a result, they send in firearms to do other things with the money. But I think that the reward that should be given should be sensitive to what could be the black market value of the firearms," he told THE STAR.
But for crime to be reduced in Jamaica, Taylor said there needs to be a change in the way the younger generation is socialised. He said the media should also play a role in strongly enforcing the message that crime doesn't pay.
"If the message is brought out to the lotto scammers as well, that ultimately you are going to get caught, people will be more inclined to turn away from crime," Taylor said.
Taylor is also of the view that people need to be able to have greater confidence in the police.
"There is still a significant confidence deficit between the police and the public, especially in the communities where there are firearms," he said.