By Muhamood Nyombi
Crime literary means any omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and makes the offender liable to punishment by that law. It is one of the social vices and does not only make citizens feel unsafe but also threatens the socio-economic environment.
The 2013 U.S. government report rates Uganda as Critical for crime, and Medium for political violence. Although the Pearl of Africa, as Uganda is fondly referred to, is faced with issues associated with crime, she continues to improve her security situation by focusing on efforts toward enacting new pieces of legislation and amending the existing laws.
By now, several laws have been enacted by parliament and more bills are in pipeline – all in the spirit of saving this motherland from crime and other social damages but worrisomely enough, the rate of crime in Uganda continues to skyrocket without any sense of remorse! Criminal activities including armed robberies, killing of police officers, drug abuse, cybercrime, human-trafficking among others are on the rise!
The 2013 annual Police crime and traffic report indicates a 14.9% surge in economic crimes, rising from 9,574 cases in 2011 to 11,006 in…, mainly registered in banks, public service providers and non-governmental organizations. What is striking enough is that cybercrime, which focuses on mobile money and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fraud, was responsible for the loss of about sh1.5b.
The police rather blamed the spike in crimes on the increase in the number of conmen, who exploit the lax laws. But the question of the time remains; can we fight crime and save the society by simply passing pieces of legislations?
The available evidence holds that laws had never fought crime! Never! This is so because; it is the person that commits crime. Laws had never committed crime; therefore, to curb crime, the best option here would be dealing with the root cause. This is what our legislators are failing to acknowledge.
Over the years, The U.S has been fighting crimes involving guns. They have passed several legislations but all in vain. What they have failed to appreciate is the fact that stricter gun control laws cannot decrease the rate of crimes involving guns. In fact criminals will simply ignore these laws and illegally obtain fire arms any way.
Stricter laws may decrease the rate at which everyone attains weapons. It may even limit the types of weapons they can purchase, but it will never stop the person who is unhealthy and looking for a way to take their anger and hatred out on another person. Chicago has some of the most strict gun control laws yet the number of murders there are mostly due to people illegally carrying guns!
In the fight against moral decay and its associated crimes, early this year, Uganda signed a law which criminalizes indecency and promotion of pornography in which women are forbidden from wearing clothes like miniskirts and cleavage-revealing blouses that excite sexual craving in public. Today, when you pass by the Ugandan capital, one wonders why our legislators wasted their valuable time in preliminary committees and presenting lengthy reports!
This signifies that the lasting solution to crime does not lie in the hands of pieces of legislations. Our legislators need to think beyond that. The best option here would be exploring why are these people committing the crime in the first place? And of course what caused them to do what they did? Believe it or not, poverty and unemployment are parents of revolution and crime. When the young and energetic population is not engaged economically, chances are high to have them behind the bars because of redundancy and permissiveness.
Policy makers have got to explore more economic policies and programs aimed at having the youths exploit their capacities because a busy working population tends to be morally upright and pays little attention to law breaking. Families as basic units of the society should help in shaping morals of children; teach them religion-because God fearing children tend to be calm and hardworking in the society. Rehabilitation Programs aimed at helping people addicted to crimes such as drug abuse, prostitution among others, are highly paramount- rather than jailing them which is yet another costly venture for the government.
Empower rural farmers to mechanize their production process and increase the efficiency of farming. This will address the soaring rural urban migration because the unemployed youth will then get back to villages because they have found their land valuable. This is how we can build our economy.