It’s almost certain that the day’s newspaper will report some crime in every edition. While it is not possible to have a completely crime-free environment, are we looking at an increase in violent crime in the state?
The question is pertinent in light of incidents of crime that have occurred in recent months. The latest was this week during the armed robbery at Zuarinagar where the robbers fled after firing at the police.
One can only gape in disbelief at the brazenness of the criminals who dared to shoot at the police and make good their escape. Couldn’t the police have acted to nab the robbers?
The deteriorating law and order situation in Goa took a further dive with this incident. Yet, armed crime no longer disturbs or even surprises Goans for the simple reason that there have already been quite a few instances of such crime.
A few years ago the use of guns in crime would have stunned Goa, it was that rare. Now it is just a little disturbing. The news that pops up on social media sites or the newspaper does not evoke more than a cursory reading, for it is always happening to someone else.
It becomes nothing more than a news report that is merely skimmed through. It is this neglect by the citizens of what is happening around them that allows the situation to worsen.
The authorities may deny it, but we are looking at a collapse or at least the beginning of the collapse of the law-and-order situation in Goa.
It is not just guns that have been used, but there have been choppers and knives also brandished in some cases, especially in gang fights on the streets.
It may be happening slowly, as armed crime is still not so very common in Goa, but there have been enough instances and gang wars in the recent past to indicate that heinous crime is increasing.
If this trend is not paused at the earliest, then reversing it at a later date will be all the more difficult. And we can’t wait for that to happen.
There can be many reasons for the increase in the use of guns in crime. Is it possible that the law enforcement authorities have not been firm with earlier crimes involving the use of guns, leading now to their increase?
Leniency on the part of the police and the state will always lead to added confidence in criminals. So too will toning down the seriousness of the crime serve no purpose other than bestowing the criminal with a devil-may-care attitude.
One hears of the long arm of the law, but in Goa, it appears that this arm is not really long, just a short one that can merely trap petty criminals. A couple of years ago, the government stated that there would be zero tolerance for guns.
Was it merely a statement to ride out the criticism that was coming its way? The opposition has already claimed a collapse in the law-and-order situation, but, what next? Where does Goa go from here?
The government and law enforcement agencies have to act quickly to stop the gun culture and heinous crime from spreading and increasing. When crimes are committed, they should be followed up by a quick investigation and swift trials. Delays in getting court orders will only serve to further boost a criminal’s boldness.
Goans have the right to stay safe, to live with the knowledge that they are being protected from criminal elements. They cannot live in fear that there could be criminals who are just waiting to burgle their homes, even brandish guns in the attempt.
It is the duty of the state to protect the citizens and provide them with security. That is the least that the people of Goa expect from the government – to do its duty.
This will be possible only if the government and the law enforcement authorities act quickly and strictly, especially with criminals who have used guns.
It’s a challenge to the government to deliver on this, for only strong police action with unreserved political backing can put an end to violent crime. It requires both working together and not just one without the other.