It is nearly the yuletide season once again and although this time of year was originally supposed to commemorate the greatest gift to mankind, the birth of the Saviour, the focus of Christmas has changed over the years. The emphasis is still on the act of giving but not necessarily the Almighty’s gift to us, but rather our gifts to each other – the commercialization of Christmas.
There is a problem, however; a problem that is likely to be particularly vexing this season. The question is simply this: How do we bridge the gap between our desires to obtain all the items on our gift lists given the current restraints on our individual budgets because of the sluggish economy?
In the vast majority of cases and for most of us, we immediately trim the list to meet the amount of available funds we have to spend during the holidays. For others, we find ways and means of increasing our incomes, legitimately or illegitimately, to meet the needs of the gift list. It is that illegitimate group that gives us cause for concern this season – those who turn to crime as a means of obtaining the needed resources to fund Christmas.
Every Christmas there seems to be a spike in the crime rate: An escalation of breaking and entry reports; muggings; armed robberies; property thefts; store robberies; car-jackings; and a growing list of bogus service providers who roam suburban neighborhoods offering heavy discounts for home repairs and painting.
Each year, the Royal Bahamas Police Force issues warnings and sage advice to the public to be on guard against criminals, but the crime-index continues to rise over the holiday season. It is especially important to be mindful of the advice given by police this year if only because there is likely to be an increase in the crime wave which tends to correspond with increased unemployment levels. In that regard, we must recall that the country is still experiencing a challenge providing sufficient jobs to meet the growing demand for work. It is by no means suggested here that those seeking work are likely to turn to crime. On the contrary, it is those who have no intention of working, but who are still desirable of filling the Christmas list, who give us cause for concern.
In an economic downturn, storekeepers and other service providers are eager to boost their sales and the Christmas season offers the best opportunity to do so. The increased advertisements to buy their goods and services are persuasive to not only law-abiding residents, they are also persuasive to criminals among us.
If we wish to avoid being victims of the crimes of Christmas then we must pay special heed to the warnings and practical advice offered by our law enforcement community at this time of the year.