“A review of Tipping Point, a book written by Malcolm Gladwell
The recent murders of five individuals are creating a lot of talks among individuals. Of course, there is a lot of blaming and pointing fingers and as usual it is also political. Everybody on the outside including myself seems to have the solutions but history has shown us when some of these individuals become the decision makers, there is no change. This tells me there is a greater problem we are not addressing, and that problem is the root causes of crime. If we can deal with the root causes of crime and start doing some small things, we can significantly reduce crime in our society. With that said, a client of mine introduced me to book called Tipping Point written by Malcolm Gladwell.
A review of the Tipping Point
In the book, the author demonstrated how small things made a big difference in fashion trends and crime through something called social epidemic in which the behaviours of individuals spread like viruses. In other words, people imitate others, and it spreads like wildfire. Social epidemic comprises of three main laws, the law of the Few, the stickiness factor and the power of context. In the law of the few, a few people are making a difference through their influences. These people have a connection with other people. In the stickiness factor, you must have something that is memorable or addictive that will attract others. In the power of context, it is referring to the sensitivity of the environment.
The book also described the Broken Window Theory in which “if a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge.” Soon thereafter, more windows will be broken and will lead to more serious crimes. In New York there was a lot of graffiti in the train station, and it was not a focus on solving crimes. However, as soon as the police started paying attention to the graffiti and start cleaning it up and painting it over, it sent a message to the vandals and as soon as the police start addressing it, the vandals stop doing the graffiti. Another example is that some kids were jumping over the turnstiles and not paying the fare to get on a train. No attention was given to this but as soon as the police paid attention to this, individuals stopped jumping over the turnstiles and start paying the fare. All of these are examples of how these small things reduced the crime level in New York significantly.
The state of crime in the Turks and Caicos
I believe the crime in the Turks and Caicos started by a few people. However, these few people became very influential and were able to attract other people to commit these crimes. I am not convinced it is due to lack of employment or lack of trade and skills because some of these individuals committing these crimes are employed. The situation is that these individuals are being influenced by others and committing a crime is a way of life for them. They do not fear the police because they believe the police is not doing anything and so they continue with their bad habits. I believe the visibility of the police in communities will reduce our crimes. Because the police are not visible, the criminals are taking over and getting away with murders. The criminals must be fearful of the police and the visibility of the police with firearms in their possessions will deter the criminals. This is a small act that can have a significant impact on the crime situation. The visibility must not only be in Five Cays but throughout the communities in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Another small thing we can do as a community is to ensure that families return to the basics which is to go to church. Many people no longer believe in the word of God and many people are bringing children up without taking them to church and as a result a big hole has created allowing the devil to come in and start a spiritual warfare destroy the minds of our young people. If we can get our people in church, it can make a significant difference.
In 2018, the Government at that time started something called Operation Guardian which was successful in dealing with illegal sloops, illegal individuals and the inspection of homes and job sites. This should be reintroduced, and I believe a small initiative like this will make a big impact on reducing crime.
I also think that we need to introduce and teach crime prevention in elementary, secondary, and tertiary schools. Furthermore, we need to identify some young people in the community who are doing positive things and encourage them to influence others. The same way criminals are influencing others, so can non-criminals.
I encourage each of you to read the book, the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It just takes a few small things to reduce the crime level in the TCI. This Government and successive governments have spent millions of dollars on the resources that the police say they need to tackle crime, but crime continues to increase. We need to find these criminals and when we find them, it will send a strong message to others. Because these criminals are not being found, they continue to commit these violent acts. Somebody knows what is going on, but no one is saying anything and as a result crime continues to escalate. However, if we can start doing some small things, we can catch these criminals and we can also reduce the crime situation in TCI.