Doctor advocates eradicating criminals like mosquitoes
By AZARD ALI Monday, February 24 2014
click on pic to zoom in
Dr Vijay Bahall...
CHASING after criminals is not enough.
A medical doctor is therefore advocating that a “dengue approach” to solving crime, could solve the country’s high murder rate and the increasing incidents of rape.
Similar to health workers spraying and turning over pots and pans to eradicate mosquitoes in dengue-prone areas, Dr Vijay Bahall last week Thursday told a public forum on crime at the University of the West Indies, that his “Medical Surveillance Model” would weed out criminals and suppress the breeding of young minds to turn to a life of crime, in depressed “hotspot” communities in Trinidad and Tobago.
At the forum, Bahall submitted that when a murder is committed in a particular community, the approach adopted in eradicating mosquitoes, should be implemented by a full-scale invasion of trained personnel to swoop down into that community. The topic was “Violence” in what was an open forum and Bahall, a specialist physician in internal medicine at San Fernando General Hospital, was invited to deliver his research paper on “Crime, A public health hazard.”
He said, “The determinants of crime are seen as a major public health issue, although genetics may play a role particularly for less serious crimes. Serious crimes also lead to further health problems, and an unhealthy environment, which further encourages criminal activity.”
Trinidad and Tobago, he said, ranks as one of the world’s leading trouble-spots, with the murder rate increased from 118 in 2000, to 407 in 2013. The detection for murders, Bahall added, is 16 percent or less. Such low detection level, Bahall told the forum, meant that 84 percent of the criminals are still at large to commit more crimes and indoctrinate others into criminal activity. He said, “This means that no matter what method was tried to catch the criminal, there are 84 out of 100 out there. This is analogous to the iceberg, since the tip if shattered, will only allow for a new tip, but the iceberg at large remains untouched.”
Bahall then proposed at the forum that the “dengue approach”, or the medical surveillance technique, should involve the use of trained personnel in various fields, to swoop down into a community whenever a murder has been committed. And he suggested a four-phase approach. The first, he named as the ‘Identification Phase.’ Bahall explained that personnel should identify the school the arrested criminal attended, clubs associated with and social organisations attached. And the second phase, Bahall proposed, was “Stabilisation”, which he explained, should involve personnel working in the community and implementing programmes where the murder has been committed, to make people feel appreciated and loved. Such programmes should aim at lifting their self- confidence.
The third and the fourth, Bahall submitted, should be the “Normalisation/Self Growth and Reformation/Transformation Phases.”
In the third phase, Bahall proposed that in communities where murders and rapes are committed, a culture of continuous development for the people living there, should be encouraged. He recommended the establishing of Sunday schools, evening lectures and community libraries etc. And in the “Reformation/Transformation phase”, Bahall suggested that the resources of the University of the West Indies be used, to help depressed communities where crime abounds, to reach out to the outside world through the establishing of Internet cafes. He said, “This health surveillance technique should be used where a single case of murder identified, can lead to the assistance and improvement of a whole community, without even knowing all the cases.”