It comes as a shock that five detainees escaped from the Thimphu detention centre recently.
We’re aware that the with the growing population in Thimphu, there is more crime and therefore arrests.
The police chief, in an earlier interview with this paper, said that when more people are detained, it becomes a challenge for the police.
It was recently pointed out in the National Assembly, during its last session, that detention centres in Thimphu, Phuentsholing, and Gelephu are overcrowded. There are also shortcomings with infrastructure, human resources, and provision of basic services.
While we’ve not been told how the detainees escaped, the recent incident only raises the urgency of improving our detention centres and addressing these shortcomings.
But at the same time, expanding our detention centres and prisons is not the solution. Arrests may deter crime to a certain limit but do not solve the problem.
We now have a CCTV system that is expanding its reach in the city. This may also further deter crime but to what extent, we will know only much later in the future. Perhaps it may just shift crime away to an area where there is no camera.
We have more patrol vehicles, more community police stations, and more police-public partnerships, among others. In terms of prevention and deterrence of crime, we are heading down the right path.
Where we need answers is on eliminating the causes of crime. There are many theories on the causes of crime. However, in Bhutan we can assume one is unemployment. But we need to dig deeper and find out why we have unemployment. Is it only because of rural-urban migration or the often blamed mismatch in the jobs offered and sought?
There are ample opportunities in Bhutan itself going by import figures, especially in the agriculture sector. The question is why our youth are not opting for this sector. Is it being looked down upon as a profession? Is the work too demanding?
There is money and dignity in agriculture. What perhaps we, the younger generations lack is values when it comes to hard work. The education system needs to find way to inculcate such values through its various subjects. The government must also eventually look to convince youth to take up jobs in the agriculture sector rather than abroad. Solving the unemployment problem will be one of the measures that will reduce the crime rate.