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Dealing with rising crime rate

Thimphu is fast growing to be a city with the highest crime rate in the country. Of the country’s total crime rate last year, Thimphu had an astounding 58.8 percent.

Thimphu may be also a city with the highest number of young people. The number keeps increasing as rural to urban migration continues.

Youth unemployment and crime rate, among others, have a direct correlation. When the nation is not able to keep pace in terms of job creation with the ever-increasing number of jobseekers, big cities where they look and come to find employment becomes haven of crime.

While we have been juggling with ideas to create jobs, most of which have been alas unsustainable, we have come face to face with two of the most serious social ailments of the modern times. The nation’s youth unemployment figure has risen to staggering 13.2 percent. According to some estimates, close to 20,000 jobseekers are expected to enter the labour market annually. Rising crime rate is testimony to the kind of desperation our young people are going through today.

Addressing unemployment situation with sustainable job creation strategies will test the courage of the government of the day and of the future, failing which we will have sown the seed of hate and distrust among the society’s young. And this is dangerous.

At a time when Bhutan’s working age population is increasing just as the public sector’s absorption capacity is diminishing, there is a need to work on creating employment opportunities that our young people are ready to take. It must be done sensibly and in a significant way by encouraging private sector growth.

Home ministry has proposed to procure more CCTV cameras and electric patrol cars as a measure to deter crime in Thimphu and expects to reduce crime in the capital by 10 percent every year. While this may certainly help us detect crimes, we may not necessarily be able to stop or reduce them.

Addressing the issue of rising crime rate will require more than CCTV cameras and electric patrol cars. There is a need to look at the heart of the problem from a broader perspective.

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