By Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press
Crime in The Bahamas is committed by mainly poor and uneducated young men. Furthermore, based on media reports, it would appear that 90 per cent of all victims of homicide are males.
This has social and economic implications for national growth. The Bahamas loses possible economic potential when men are murdered in their most productive years.
Other than the economic losses resulting from the rampant killing of young men, many children are left without fathers to provide guidance. The effects of fatherlessness, range from delinquency to antisocial behaviour in adulthood.
Furthermore, treating the victims of violent crime puts a strain on the health system. In addition, money spent on crime-prevention strategies and the rehabilitation of offenders could be better invested in education and healthcare.
Policymakers have implemented training programmes to prevent the involvement of unattached males in crime. Though a logical strategy, training programmes alone cannot solve the problem of youth involvement in crime.
A major reason for the large number of young males participating in crime is a dysfunctional home.
It seems like, in some communities, large numbers of young men are involuntarily out of school.
As a result, they are likely to become easy targets for gangs hunting recruits.
Studies examining the relationship between young men and crime are not foreign to policymakers and ordinary citizens.
Therefore, if the problem is acknowledged, why is it not getting sufficient attention? It is evident that the differential treatment meted out to boys and girls can explain the higher levels of male delinquency.
The Bahamas has an aggressively masculine culture that often places boys at a disadvantage. Men should be expected to fend for themselves; however, it becomes problematic when little boys are forced to stop their schooling to take care of the family.
Also, girls are socialised to do well academically, while boys are encouraged to be adventurous and roam the streets, thus making them prey for criminal elements. Therefore, Bahamian culture may be enabling young men to become criminals and academic failures.
One way to stem the participation of young men in crime would be to have more social workers providing support to single mothers. Additionally, parents must be encouraged to attend institutions and participate in programs dedicated to improving the skills of parents.
Men have an important role in society to play as leaders and innovators. Hence, if we do not train better boys, we will remain a weak society, ravaged by violence and poverty.