Demonstrate Against Crime? Close the Pawn Shops!! Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 00:00

Usher’s paltry attempt at demonstratingGilroy Usher, PUP Standard Bearer for Port Loyola, led a little over a dozen people in a march against crime across Belize City on Wednesday, May 2. City residents have been shaken by the recent spike in crime and violence. It has become obvious that law enforcement officials cannot stop crime on their own. Reclaiming the city will take a unified effort; everyone must play a part. Some in the community have started sports teams and programs in order to give young people constructive things to do. Then, there are others like Gilroy Usher, who has used the situation to push their face in front of cameras and generate needed publicity. His demonstration was a complete waste of time. If Usher is serious about stopping crime then he should close down his pawn shops.

Pawnbrokers benefit greatly from criminal activities. While murders and shootings are the headline-grabbers of news, they are not the crimes really responsible for our low sense of security. Members of the general population are not targets for random shootings; gang members are. Members of the general population are targets for robbery, burglary and larceny.

Robberies, burglaries and theft account for more than 90% of all crimes in Belize and, as a result, pawnbrokers are flourishing. Pawnshops serve the credit needs of persons with low income and limited access to mainstream financial markets; therefore, there is a need for such institutions. However, the society must be protected from them because pawn shops provide a market for stolen goods. Pawnshops should be extremely well-regulated to ensure that they are not accepting stolen goods and pawnbrokers found with stolen goods should be punished severely.   Patrick Colquhoun, a Scottish Merchant, once said, “Nothing, therefore, can be more just than the old observation, ‘that if there were no receivers there would be no thieves. Deprive a thief of a safe and ready market for his goods, and he is undone.”

Items stolen in robberies, burglaries and theft are taken to pawnshops and sold for cash. While Usher led a demonstration against crime, he continues to expand his pawn business, which depends upon the misfortune of others for success. Pawnshops are opening across the city, even in residential areas. Without proper regulations, pawnshops are societal cancers.