Policing Needs to Catch Up with Criminals’ Creativity

By Eden Sahle

Crime is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and weak policing, security infrastructure and minimum sentences have been some of the encouraging factors.

It is sad to hear from friends and relatives that they have lost valuable stuff to theft in broad daylight. What is even more disheartening is that the crimes have become more organised, carried out with gangs of professionals that bide their time. It is plaguing the country.

It is common to hear of people that have lost their hard-earned cash in broad daylight in the middle of the city. Recently, there were reports of a woman around Piassa that lost a quarter of a million Birr that was supposed to be used for medical treatment for a family member. The victim said she was unconscious for a brief moment after she left the bank with the money, only to find herself empty-handed when she regained consciousness.

This is not just it. Others have lost property by a driver that snatches it from them and gets away on a motorbike. Drivers are not immune from these crimes either. One could lose a phone and items by individuals who force themselves inside the car through a side window or by unlocking the car.

Reports of burglary and breaking-and-entering have also increased around suburban houses. Such activity is also common around condominium apartments.

What this shows is that the law enforcement bodies have been unable to account for perpetrators, which gives room for organised criminal groups to flourish, diversify and expand their activities. Such high-tech organised crime constitutes a serious challenge that must be met with a strong response to prevent this from happening.

Organised criminal groups pursue legitimate activities for criminal purposes. The ways in which they are reaping profit out of people's hard-earned wealth are becoming more creative and harder to identify easily.

On a daily basis, many are falling victim to prearranged crime in an increasing number of ways and in so many places. These should concern the law enforcement bodies as much as it is intimidating and hurting the public at large. The emergence of these new types of crime necessitates a strong response from law enforcement bodies.

The best way to prevent crime is to be aware of the potential risks and being alert to situations that make people vulnerable. This is of course not a problem law enforcement bodies can solve single-handedly, but one that requires a concerted effort by other bodies of the city administration that should work to reduce unemployment and engage youth in public activities.

It would also help to have community-level crime prevention programs and strategies, targeting changes in awareness and preparedness. This could include setting up neighborhood watches around neighborhoods.

Encouraging and supporting community policing would be an even better initiative. This would mean that there are dedicated police officers well-known to members of the neighborhood to facilitate a smooth exchange of information between the public and law enforcement bodies.

Of course, the greatest burden lies on the shoulders of law enforcement bodies, which should develop strategies to combat crime. To effectively render prevention measures, police and community activities must be well-planned, prepared, implemented and analysed with the intention of not just apprehending criminals but preventing crime.

The strategic approach allows for improved planning of long-term financing from the government's budget, as well as efficient logistics and enhanced human resources management to support crime prevention systems.

One of the main elements of the law enforcement policy should be to reduce crime and eliminate criminal activities and assist victims of crime. Given the wide range of causes of crime, preventive measures can have an impact on many areas of public life, such as social policies, employment, education and crisis intervention.

The prevention policy should primarily promote non-repressive measures to prevent crime and minimise crime-related risks and consequences. Its objective should be to reduce the incidence of crime and its seriousness while increasing the public perception of safety.


Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at edensah2000@gmail.com.

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