Issue 370 June 1, 2017
Even as we condemn every act of robbery, aggravated robbery, shop invasion and violence, even as we sympathise with the victims, discuss the growing problem with the lawmakers and law-enforcers, we wish that safety issues are addressed properly, through dialogue and discussion.
For an eye for an eye would make everyone blind.
Why if it does not pay?
As Labour’s Maungakiekie candidate in the forthcoming general election Priyanca Radhakrishnan asks in her article appearing in this issue (Homelink), if people commit crime knowing that they would one day be caught and punished, why do they still commit crime? Are they so indifferent towards their own future that they reoffend?
In the current wave of crime across Auckland and in some other parts of the world, perpetrators are young people, often younger than admissibility in a criminal court of law.
They are, more often than not, from a difficult childhood and disturbed family.
They are concerned about what they want today, rather than what they would get in terms of consequences or punishment tomorrow.
They are poor people.
Poverty and unemployment
As Ms Radhakrishnan rightly mentions, in general, poverty and unemployment are two major factors that influence youth to commit crime.
Between the benefits and justice, the criminals always select the first due to the economics of crime and punishment.
Psychologists and experts in human behaviour say this theory considers the probability of the two kinds of cost, and then looked for a method which can save the most for the society. Perpetration of criminal activity is not based on the justice and fairness but on the beneficial result.
Criminologists say that if people cannot afford the cost of their life, the possibility that they would choose crime will be higher. That is because they need to live but cannot receive money by legal means.
Secondly poverty is a reasonable factor to understand. Despite the benefit system, the gap of the poor and the rich is becoming deeper.
In the larger context of our communities and the society, we should ask ourselves the question, “How can we rehabilitate such young offenders and how their parents and members of the immediate family can be held accountable?
Every dysfunctional family would have a horror tale and unpleasant experience. It is up to us as a civilised society to bring orderliness in such families and more importantly in the lives of young offenders.
New Zealand has a fine history of justice and jurisprudence, with a penchant for reforming offenders and sending them back to the society as reformed persons, capable of gainful employment. The objective is to turn their dark side into one positive thinking and good behaviour.
That is the only way in which a society and therefore a country can grow.