The Systemic Causes of Crime

Friday 04th, April 2014 / 10:32 Published by
Crime in Nassau: CRITICAL

Crime in The Bahamas: CRITICAL

As much as it is nonsensical to say that any one ingredient makes a conch salad, even so it is nonsensical to say that any one or two factors cause crime. I offer for mental consumption the suggestion that crime is a systemic problem, and as such our major institutions are contributing ingredients.

We must admit that this nation has systemically sown seeds of corruption that have flourished murderously, menacingly, threatening our national lifeblood. Crime is the “fleshly manifestation” of spiritual seeds sown for decades. “We have sown to the wind and reaped the whirlwind.”

We must stop being reductionist and myopic in our understanding of our crime dilemma. The police not doing enough, absent fathers and silent churches are the narrow focus of blame. Yet all the major institutions determined by sociologists to constitute a society have contributed to crime, individually and collectively – education, the government, the family, the business/economic sector, the church, the judicial system and the individual person.

The school system

The emasculation of male teachers in schools is common; the system primarily uses men more for their brawn than their brain. Male students see this and they too become diminished, seeking ways, normally through sub-cultural means, to draw attention to themselves. Low teacher salaries also discourages male teachers which naturally leads to a predominance of females in the industry who have the almost impossible task of developing socially productive men.

Also, our schools are staffed with a 6:1 ratio of female to male counselors, though most of the problems are male-oriented. Are our boys really going to express their deep concerns, pain, and disillusionment to their female counselors? No sir! This anomaly of absent male teachers, leaders, and counselors fosters rebellion, deprives young men of proper discipline, and engenders an innate and sometimes subconscious lack of self-esteem which eventually degenerates into deviant, sub-cultural behavior.

The discouragement of teacher–administered corporal discipline breeds a compromised “punishment for the crime” perspective. We have inadvertently inculcated in the minds of students past and present, that wrongdoing comes with little or no physical punishment attached. This leads to violation of laws with impunity. We have strayed away from and disdained Scripture which tells us that the rod of correction will drive foolishness far from the heart of the child.

The family

Yes, many fathers are absent. But this is nothing new, even from antiquity. Interestingly enough, very little is said about the role many mothers play in contributing to the absent father syndrome. Editor, so much more can be said here. It is deficiencies in parenting that breeds criminals. Many parents still spend too little time with their children, still put too much value on material possessions, and yet expect children to “do as they say and not as they do”. Children see too much self-centeredness, a lack of orientation toward God, an absence of law and order in the home, unethical driving habits on the streets, etc.

The government

John Locke, the great English philosopher, declared that government’s prime purpose is to ensure that justice is carried out and that happiness is available to one and all in society. Alas, members of successive Bahamian governments have participated in acts of injustice, nepotism, cronyism and policies that lead to underemployment – or worse, non-employment. The failure to give equal educational and economic opportunities to all, coupled with injustice, impairs individuals’ ability to live a reasonable life.

There is still a lack of real will to safeguard our borders. Consequently, immigrants tax our country financially, socially, and morally. This leads to societal frustration. Last year, I wrote about the de-politicization of crime. I admonished political parties, the clergy and other civic authorities to divest themselves of political and denominational differences and sit down as Bahamians to discuss preventative ways to ameliorate this vexing, systemic problem. Crime has now affected the hierarchy of two parties and still there is no non-partisan discussion. This space does not allow for full elaboration on the tremendous role this institution plays.

The business community

White collar and blue collar crimes are committed by professionals and businesses daily. Since businesses exist primarily for profit making and not service giving, huge profits are made from “marketing and sales strategies”, especially through loans. What is lawful might not be moral. Seeing this, knowing this, and unable to correct this, the average man on the street commits crime at his own level: the red collar crime. And so our streets are painted red – red with the blood of our souls, our nationhood.

For example, the banking community, in particular, takes advantage of immoral laws within the confines of legality. A person borrows $200K for a home but due to “legal” terms/laws, must pay the bank back almost $600K. We have been brought up to accept this economic immorality, as “legal” banking practices. These outrageous, unethical, profit making fiduciary policies teach criminality and lay a foundation for anger that simmers and eventually manifests itself in uncivilized ways.

As an aside, during the 1990s I wrote articles warning merchants about the sale of toy guns, intimating that one day our boys will grow to be men, put away the toy guns and replace them with the real ones; that they will pay those same merchants a visit as robbers and potential murderers. This was a voice crying in the wilderness, unheeded because merchants sacrificed future national security on the altar of present financial expediency. Sowing and reaping whirlwinds.

The court system

Courts still favor the privileged, a particular gender, or those with “status”. Justice is still slow and often hardly appears to exist. Justice is still prized merchandise and goes by favor (Micah 3-5). Capital punishment, clearly instituted by God, but not so clearly abolished by Him, seems to be a thing of the past. Vigilantism, though not condoned, is “impelled” by the circumstances as part of a quest for justice. The judicial system may also need to redefine the difference between what is moral from what is legal. Truth should not be sacrificed on the altar of legal expertise and the accruing of wealth. Legal expertise that brings the acquittal of the guilty should not be relished.

“How could a unlicensed driver, in an unlicensed and uninsured car, totally wreck another person’s car, hit and run, and still get away with it?”

This system is usually susceptible to bribery, be it monetary, nepotism, or cronyism. Justice is also slack and, like kisses, can go by favor. How could a unlicensed driver, in an unlicensed and uninsured car, totally wreck another person’s car, hit and run, and still get away with it? How? Is judgment not slack in this land?


The sad, shocking reality is that the church, by omission and commission, also contributes to crime. In terms of omission, the church has not been the best place to experience love or forgiveness. The term “church people” is loaded with insinuations about a people who are hypocritical, condemning, tyrannical, and discriminatory against its own members.

Men with leadership potential who appear to threaten empire-ship are subtly marginalized. Saturation evangelistic and educational efforts are wanting and lacking in things scientific, philosophical, even Biblical. This stifles the masses, disempowering them when it comes to secular matters germane to their personal fulfillment.

The church is commanded to love and cherish all – all for whom Christ died. The church is not commanded to show efficiency in terms of discriminatory retribution, nor is it commanded to seek pristine sanctuaries, pristine ministers, in an effort to impress an un-pristine world. By love, grace, mercy, shall all men know that we are Christ’s disciples.

By commission, the church actively seeks its own empire-building with just enough evangelism and body edification to justify its existence. Power is not decentralized, but is rather centralized within the local body of chief priests, Sanhedrin councils and elders who disenfranchise as many from the economic pie as much as “other forces” in society. We have sown to the wind, even in our churches!

Sadly, the church leads the way in devaluing fathers. Mother’s Day is attended by much pomp and pageantry. On Father’s Day, dinners are primarily at home and church services are generally low-key. Does this not reflect a shift away from the tradition of valuing and respecting the God-given authority and honor of the male? So much more can be said.

This daring synopsis acknowledges insufficient space for clearer elaborations to avoid unnecessary offenses and misunderstandings. May the readers pick out the bones, chew the cud, and expect a submission of possible solutions to crime next.

By:  Dr. “B”

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