Crime in a Chaotic World
CRIME is not a modern phenomenon. The first murder took place thousands of years ago when Cain murdered his brother Abel. Rape and sodomy are mentioned in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. (Genesis 4:8; 19:4, 5; 34:1-4) People were being mugged in the first century of our Common Era, as the parable of the good Samaritan shows. (Luke 10:29-37) But there is a difference today.
The feeling of people in many major cities of the world, whether it be New York, London, Calcutta, or Bogotá, is that crime is more prevalent and more threatening. A report from India Today carrying the headline “Cult of Anarchy” states: “A disturbing development threatening to rend asunder the delicate moral and social weave that knits the country together is the elevation of violence, defiant indiscipline, and lawlessness to a cult.” In their fight against crime, even the police are sometimes tempted to overstep the boundaries of law enforcement and use criminal methods themselves. The previous report from India states: “Deaths in police custody continue to make news.” And that is also true in other countries.
The odds against being a victim of crime seem to be getting worse. A report from the United States says that “one in four American households was touched by a crime of violence or theft in 1988.” Moreover, people are now committing violent crimes at younger ages. The Latin-American magazine Visión states that “nine out of every ten sicarios [paid killers] are minors. [They are] ‘children’ in the genetic sense and under legal protection.” Again, the committing of violent crimes by minors is a worldwide trend.
The Bible prophesied nearly 2,000 years ago: “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, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride . . . Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.”—2 Timothy 3:1-4, 13.
Since 1914 evidence abounds that we are living in those critical last days. The world, having suffered two world wars and other major conflicts, has become in many ways ungovernable, chaotic. Crime is rampant. In many city areas, the criminals have taken over, changing the life-styles of the law-abiding majority. As a prominent U.S. senator stated: “There are so many things to worry about now, things we never used to fear. Sometimes we are so afraid that we become prisoners, while those who should be locked up go free.”
As a consequence, people today are taking precautions that were unnecessary 20 or 30 years ago. Doors have double or triple locks and are reinforced with steel. People in many places carry enough money to satisfy a mugger so as hopefully to avoid being beaten for having nothing to hand over to thieves. Many streets are almost deserted after sundown, frequented by only the naive, the foolhardy, and those who are forced by circumstances to be there—easy targets for the predators who roam the city jungle.
What can we do to avoid being victims of crime in this chaotic and anarchic world? How can we cope?