As a Ghanaian living thousands of kilometers away from my motherland, I’m appalled by the extent to which criminals carry out their deed.
Every year hundreds of Ghanaians fall victim to armed robbery attacks. Many of the reported incidents so far have resulted in the brutal murder of the victims of these goons, gangs and hoodlums.
These robbers come with sophisticated guns and ammunition, top-of-the range methods. In fact, a lot of these have never been recording in the arms inventory of our security services. They use them to rain terror on innocent Ghanaians whose only fault was that they have acquired a few valuables to make them live better lives.
But while the fight against armed robbery continues through the deployment of the Operation Calm Lives team, there’s the need for a few more options to be explored.
Today, I wonder how much public education the government offers ordinary Ghanaians to ensure their safety. In fact, the only time the police come close to educating the citizenry is when there are overwhelming reports of such attacks on citizens.
When this happens, the public relations officers of the service would seize every opportunity to give security titbits and wax lyrical on personal safety.
The government claims it is committed to fighting crime but day in and day out, more people continue to fall victim to all kinds of fraud and armed robbery which means that government’s commitment is not including initiatives that would help inform Ghanaians about how to prevent or protect themselves from related crimes.
Ghanaians need to be vigilant about armed robbery and fraud not only during Christmas or holidays and traditional festivities but all year round.
Every Ghanaian must be concerned about armed robbery and fraud because of the possibility that they can destabilize the country’s economy as a strengthened organized crime groups would definitely ward off potential investors.
Let’s talk about arms retrieval. A national small arms baseline survey conducted in 2014 established that 2.3 million small arms are circulating in the country.
It’s instructive to note that almost all armed robbery cases in the country are carried out with some of these arms. The fight to end armed robbery in the country should rope in the mix the need to retrieve arms on a yearly basis.
As the case is in many parts of the world, young people are mostly those found with these arms. A great number of armed robberies is carried out by young people who have joined hardened criminals poised to kill.
The impact on individuals, families and businesses is devastating as retirement savings, homes, businesses, and most case human lives, are lost. Let the government be reminded that organized crime presents a serious threat to Ghana.
How many people know how to avoid or shield themselves from being attacked and robbed off their money, precious minerals and other valuables and not be killed by these wicked people?
Let the law makers start to discuss this while we petition the president to institute a national arms and ammunition retrieval exercise to help check organized crime.
Columnist: Stephen Acquaye, Toronto, Canada