Our Readers' Opinions
October 13, 2017
The murder rate: Cause and effect

EDITOR: A recent string of murders has stirred panic and concern among law-abiding citizens. And casual observation leads some to jump to the easiest conclusion: it’s the Government’s fault.

Those who want to blame the Government cite socio-economic demise or social breakdown. But they do so vaguely without the benefit of precision.

Incidence of crime falls short of proving such a sweeping statement.

Cause and effect relationships are difficult to support. That’s why expert researchers spend ages running their theories through the scientific method before they can make statements with confidence.

In St Vincent, the causal link between the Government’s policies and the murder rate is being made without sufficient evidence. Youth unemployment, for example, is a common diagnosis. But solid supporting facts, such as longitudinal statistics for rates of employment and school enrollment, are often absent from the conversation. And even if they were to be added, there is only the potential for establishing a relationship of mere coincidence or correlation to the murder rate. Cause still has not been proven.

We can all agree that it is important for citizens to feel and to actually be safe at home and in public spaces. If that is the collective’s goal, then intellectual energy is more productively spent constructing problem-solution dyads, rather than politicizing blame. Doing otherwise is tantamount to a violent crime.

Lisa Deane