Social anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle (right) says there is a spreadsheet of violence against children, as they are recruited as gang operatives. He was speaking at City Hall on Wednesday’s Anti-Gang Week at the Police Commissioner’s Office in Kingston. Richard Troupe, director of the School Safety and Security Unit at the Ministry of Education and Youth, notes.
SOCIAL anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle and Detective Inspector Clifton Green have called for mechanisms to slow down the recruitment of children by criminals.
Gayle and Green were among six speakers at an Anti-Gang Week Town Hall meeting held on Wednesday under the theme “Leggo de gang … Lift up Jamaica.” The initiative, which is a joint effort of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Ministry of Education and Youth, aimed to address the problems of gangs, criminal organizations and children involved in violent crime.
According to Gayle, there is much work to be done to reduce “children as agents of crime” because they are targeted to wage war and less suspected of committing crimes.
It also pointed to boys and girls who play different roles in crime, based on their socio-economic status.
The sub-officer in charge of the National Anti-Gang Strategy Unit, Detective Inspector Clifton Green, says he is aware of the co-option of minors by criminals in recent times.
“An activity that we must have in mind, if we are talking about children, is to do the violence audit that helps us identify these houses and start working through these houses because when you save these families in any country, the homicide rate drops because that is the belly of your violence,” he said.
“If you open a spreadsheet in front of you, let’s start with girls. The worst job a girl can do is sleep. She is sent across a border into another group to sleep with someone, thus reducing that person’s ability to take action and make that person vulnerable.The second level is an import which means this person is responsible for housing the criminal and the next level is a gun pouch then the next level is a sentry which means they stand at the angles and so on. You’re looking at girls who neurobiologically don’t want to be involved, but an environment puts them within the operational hierarchy,” she said.
She pointed out that during her work in 17 countries, she found 30 girls under 18 who are war strategists and operate as “the brainchild behind the chaos and violence.”
“It means it’s very rare, but we still have to pay attention to it. These things happen because we have some patriarchal and chauvinistic ideas about women that say that women are the docile creatures that go around, they don’t bother anyone, they have no brains,” he said. said.
Meanwhile, speaking about how kids are singled out for crime, he said, “There’s law enforcement who’s the most troublesome group, then there’s the gun bags, then there’s the sentries, and then those who they help do the recruiting in schools and other areas,” Gayle said.
Gayle added that boys and girls go through six levels of problems stemming from problems at home.
“When you take all of this into consideration, the first thing that strikes you is the parenting structure of these boys and girls because the parents are unemployed, and if the parents are unemployed, the boy drops out of school and then the mother or the aunt or whoever is responsible she has to take a side job or go into prostitution or sex work. The fourth level, the girl is sent to a cousin or aunt or someone and employed in what we call human trafficking or modern day slavery and then the fifth one it’s when the daughter is chosen, when the mother literally tells her that’s where you have to go,” she explained.
“When you take all of this you start to see before you what we call the ontological spreadsheet of violence against children. The intervention is not based on the philosophy that a child cannot be poor, it is the family that is poor,” he said, noting that only 10 percent of households in violent communities are headed by children who cause extreme chaos.
Meanwhile, Green, who is a NCO in charge of the National Strategic Anti Gang Unit, noted that while he hasn’t seen overwhelming cases of children being in gangs, it is still a cause for concern.
“In our investigations we’ve actually seen two, the co-option of minors by criminal organizations to help them integrate their businesses. We’ve seen people carrying guns, on behalf of groups, acting as lookouts,” Green said.
“Until this morning [Wednesday]I had a conversation with someone who is pointing out that in a particular community, young people are being put forward by a particular ringleader for the purposes of early warning systems and so on,” he added.
Green has encouraged those in the role of managing targeted youth to ensure they are guided away from waiting corners.
“If we continue to allow these young people to be exposed, in a few years we won’t even be able to go to our homes. We must continue the efforts. I appeal to the people of those communities that if you allow these things to rot, and by involving the young people to these processes, the value of your properties, living conditions, cost of living will be side effects of what we get when we allow them to operate in our spaces.” he said.
In a news conference earlier this month, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said of the 875 charges brought against children since 2019, as of November 1 this year, 79 were for murder, 66 for shooting and 175 for rape.
In addition, he said there were 256 charges of firearms violations, 175 for burglary, 89 for robbery and 56 for aggravated assault.