A Crime-Free World—How Much Do You Really Want It?
HAVE you ever had the experience of coming home and finding some of your valuable possessions missing? If so—and more and more people are having that experience today—how did you feel?
For most persons, there is a feeling of indignation. Anger wells up at the greed and lovelessness the act of stealing represents, as well as contempt for the sneaky way the thief does his work.
But many also feel a sense of helplessness. It seems that there is so little defense left against crime in modern times. Lack of confidence in law enforcement is the reason why fully half the crimes go unreported in many places. From around the earth, reports betray the losing battle that police agencies wage.
Subway motormen in Paris, France, for example, say that they sometimes see dozens of empty wallets in tunnels between stations, all tossed there by thieves.
In the “land down under,” Australia, a 50-percent annual increase in crime was called only the “tip of the iceberg” by a leading criminologist.
Lovely Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year had a murder toll surpassing that of Chicago, and it keeps rising.
In the United States, where crime spreads increasingly into suburban and rural areas, the cost is enormous—$13,000,000,000 a year just for police, court and prison expenses. The cost in property and lives is far greater. A recent study shows that, if the present rate continues, eventually “homicide will be the cause of death of roughly one of every 27” persons in the city of Atlanta. The U.S. attorney general spoke of the present campaign against crime as a “failure of substantial dimension—harsh, bitter, and dismaying.”
Does not the world scene bring to mind words spoken by Jesus in answer to his disciples’ question about the “conclusion of the system of things”? He said that part of the “sign” preceding the end would be “the increasing of lawlessness.” (Matt. 24:3, 12) Surely today as never before people everywhere are talking about crime, deploring it.
What would it take to bring about a world fully free from crime?
WHERE CRIME REALLY COMES FROM
When you think of crime and criminals, of what do you think? Many think of muggers, burglars, rapists, gangsters and similar types.
But what of the auto or television repairman who regularly charges for work he did not do, the doctor who “pads” his clients’ medical bills, or the butcher who falsely weighs what he sells? Or what of the housewife who, when shopping, slips things into her coat pocket without paying for them, or the employee who carries off his company’s products or tools? Really, how much different are these, in motive or method, from the “sneak thief”? Yet many of these same persons will complain about the ‘increase in crime,’ meaning, of course, ‘crime in the streets.’
Actually, as a study on crime reveals, the cost in money and property lost to muggers and burglars is “trivial compared to the millions involved in the crimes of fraud and embezzlement.” Just one multimillion-dollar-stock-market swindle can steal far more than tens of thousands of ordinary burglaries.
True, you may not feel the immediate impact of many “white-collar crimes.” But eventually they are felt by people as a whole. The loss to business by shoplifters and dishonest employees, for example, is all passed on to the general public in the form of higher prices.
And, when it comes to crimes of violence, did you realize that most of these—murder included—take place among people who know each other? As the 1974 Encyclopædia Britannica states: “The majority of homicides are committed within the family or between close friends. About half occur as the result of trivial altercation,” often where heavy drinking is involved. The same reference work points out that in England, as one example, “two-thirds of female victims of violent crime [including forcible rape] were attacked by relatives.”
And does not all of this bring to mind other words found in the Bible, those of the inspired apostle who said: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . disloyal, having no natural affection, . . . without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness”?—2 Tim. 3:1-3.
THE ONLY WAY TO A CRIME-FREE WORLD
Sober thinking should help us to see that there are two basic things that must be changed if a crime-free world is ever to be enjoyed. What are these?
One is the present worldwide system of things. Why? Because the motivation for crime has been built into that system from far back into the past. That motivation is selfishness. Human greed has been the molding force in developing over the centuries the present structure of human society that has as a continuing feature dismal living conditions for millions, conditions that breed so much ‘crime in the streets.’ Commercial and political exploitation and oppression create frustration and cause many to despair of being able to improve their lot in life by honest means. Vicious wars to achieve nationalistic aims demoralize and brutalize people, creating a climate for future violence. High political figures and judges practice corruption and cause people to lose confidence in legal justice. Yes, crime seems to be woven into the very fabric of human society.
The Bible shows that we are at the very threshold of the time when God is going to pave the way for a crime-free world by sweeping away this entire system of human rule and replacing it with a righteous new order directed and administered by his own Son, the one who proved his unselfish love for mankind by giving his own life on their behalf. (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 20:28) Of him, it was foretold: “There will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth.” (Isa. 11:3, 4) Under his rule people will enjoy genuine security. But a crime-free world calls for something else, a second change. What is that?
A change in people themselves. That is why the Bible says to those desirous of gaining life in that coming crime-free new order: “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it.”—Col. 3:9, 10.
Today people viewed by the community as “respectable citizens,” including many churchgoers, engage in petty cheating and fraud on a regular basis. They excuse themselves with such rationalizations as, ‘Well, everyone does it,’ and, ‘Since the competition does it, I have to do it to stay in business.’ The shortness of life and the lack of a genuine hope for the future foment materialism in many, even a fierce effort to “get rich quick.”
So much crime today is committed by youth. Why? The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Great Britain says of juvenile criminals there: “If they had faith in the future, much of this would disappear.” Criminologists Franco Ferracuti and Graeme R. Newman state: “American research has suggested that unsound [family] discipline may be related to about 70 percent of criminal men.”
All of which proves the truthfulness of Jesus’ prophecy, for he said that “because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matt. 24:12) Yes, with crime of one kind or another so pervasive, the love of righteousness, honesty and decency suffers decay on the part of more and more persons.
Really, does not all lawlessness stem from a lack of love? Jesus Christ said that the large code of laws given to the ancient nation of Israel hung on just two commandments: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind. . . . You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-40) And, after discussing the respect that genuine Christians should have toward the authorities and their laws, the inspired apostle Paul went on to say: “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore love is the law’s fulfillment.” (Rom. 13:1-10) But human systems can never develop the climate of love that will end crime on earth. Only man’s Creator can and will do that through the coming new order and the education in righteousness that it will bring.
A crime-free world is approaching. But for any of us to enjoy it we must now learn the will, purposes and standards of Jehovah God. He has lovingly provided his inspired Word the Bible to enable us to know how to show true love for him and for our neighbor. In the Bible he gives us the hope and confidence that will enable us to overcome frustration and despair and to fight off the temptation to “get ahead” by dishonest means.
Do you really want to see a crime-free world? Then you need to take the steps necessary for surviving the approaching elimination of the present system of things. Only in the New Order that follows, in which love of God and love of neighbor will prevail earth wide, can people enjoy life free from all crime. To attain that, make use of your opportunity now to gain the enlightening and life-giving knowledge that God’s Word contains. Because they love God and love their neighbor, Jehovah’s witnesses offer their help free of charge.
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THE BIBLE FORETOLD: “Because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.”—Matt. 24:12.