You CAN change the world! Here’s how…

As Counties/Manukau detectives work on their 4th homicide in two weeks, the nation shakes it’s collective head and looks to the Government to fix the sad state of affairs, this is after all an election year. 

MP for Manurewa and former Police Minister George Hawkins has introduced a bill to Parliament to curb the number of liquor stores in the nation, in an effort to make it appear that the Labour Government is doing something. You see there is a link between alcohol and crime so limiting the number of available liquor outlets in any one suburb is going to stop it! To echo the Tui’s beer ad…. Yeah Right!

National Party Leader John Key is attacking the Prime Minister over her party’s poor record on Law and Order but he doesn’t seem to offer any real answer either. 

In short the politicians are blowing more hot air than a salon full of hair dryers.  Legislation prohibiting parents using force to discipline their children has prevented how many homicides? That’s right, none.  So limiting the number of liquor stores will do what? Decrease competition and make alcohol more expensive, which means those who blow their benefits on alcohol will be able to do it quicker? Nice.  That will really help with the violent domestic incidents and lead to less theft, burglary and robbery won’t it?

The answer isn’t more legislation and social engineering.  The last 20 years have proved that.

So, I hear you all asking, what is the answer smarty pants?

Well, lets start at the beginning, with the young and impressionable, lets invest in the concept of Newton’s third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Current Youth law was enacted in 1989, the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 was lauded as innovative and deals with the care and protection of young people.  A child is defined as a person under the age of 14, a child is not deemed criminally responsible except for Murder or Manslaughter. A young person is defined as a person aged between 14 and 17, unlike adults, a young person cannot be arrested without warrant on any offence other than a purely indictable offence (rape, murder etc) unless specific conditions are met.  This act prefers Police deal with youth offending through Cautions, Warnings and Family Group Conferences, which, more often than not, leave the victim with less rights than the child/youth offender.  In the 20 years since this Act came into legislation, it has fostered a generation of vicious criminals who grew up free from responsibility for their actions.  Clearly it didn’t work.

So, lets overhaul the CYPFs Act, do away with Cautions, Warnings and FGC’s and have all child/youth offenders appear in the Youth Court.  We can still work with restorative justice etc, but make them appear in a formal court, to give them the message, they’ve committed a crime.  Let’s make restorative justice a meaningful consequence, lets also look at some sort of 3 strikes system to stop recidivist offenders in their tracks. 

Let’s teach our children to be responsible for their actions, make them accountable.

Speaking of responsibility and accountability

What about us?  The adults.  We teach our children by our actions.

It’s all very well to come together as a community and march or hold candle light vigils when a child is murdered or the community feels outrage at a succession of violent crimes, but what do you do the other 364 days of the year?  How do you prevent crime? What do you personally, do about it?

When you see a crime being committed, do you call Police? Or do you walk on by and pretend it’s not happening?

Last year I was driving with my children, I turned down a side street and stopped at the lights.  As I glanced idly about me, I noticed a child outside the open foyer of a building, acting oddly.  I realised he was a look out, I checked out the foyer, a group of kids were tagging with permanent markers.  Did I drive on when the lights changed? NO, I had two small children with me, I couldn’t take on a group of youths by myself and I didn’t have my cellphone, so I bluffed them!  I opened the window and yelled that I was calling the cops, they scarpered.

Did I stop them? Well momentarily I did.  What is important is I didn’t ignore them.  I let them know they were seen, I let my children know it was unacceptable and I did something about it.

As individuals it is up to us to do something when we see a crime being committed.  I am not talking about forming vigilante groups or taking on criminals one to one.  I’m talking about photographing them with your cellphone and making a police report, calling the Police if you can while it’s happening, giving a statement when you’ve witnessed something.  It’s about personally taking responsibility to let the crims know that crime is not acceptable in your neighbourhood.  Acting is like a virus, first one person starts, then two, then four and on it goes.

If we want safe neighbourhoods, we need to make them safe by not permitting criminals to act.  We are the eyes and ears of the Police and the best chance to put a stop to crime.

And the Police?

The more crime we report, the less Police there are to act upon it.  But you know what? The more we report crime, the better chance there is for the Police to prove they need funding and more Police.  The better we teach our children, the more likely they are to grow up and join the Police.

The power is in your hands, the hands of each individual person.  It doesn’t belong to Government and it doesn’t belong to the Police or the Justice system.  It belongs to us and it’s time to take it back!  We’ve let it go for too long.



2 Responses to “You CAN change the world! Here’s how…”

  1. panoramia Says:

    Very well said! Good points and for what it is worth I’ll put a pointer in your direction in my other blog tonight. Election year, too — notice all the old promises being recycled?

  2. Same old promises that mean nothing. Seriously I have no idea who to vote for, the only reason I will be voting at all is because to not vote is to give away the power to complain!

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