We Must Do More To Arrest These ATM Thieves

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By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

The police and other security outfits in Ghana deserve commendation for following the heels criminals in Accra and other parts of Ghana. The latest achievement of our police is the arrest of three Nigerians who were said to have succeeded in tampering with data on Automatic Teller Machines. The Three Nigerians are believed to be members of a gang that produce and use cloned Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards to withdraw various sums of money from the accounts of a number of bank customers totaling 2million cedis.

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This crime being perpetrated by cyber criminals is part of the cyber criminal activities that are on going over a long time now and practiced mainly by the youth all over the world. The arrest of the Nigerian criminals who will be prosecuted will do doubt open the way for us to know some technical tricks employed by the criminals in their activities. Apart from crimes perpetrated through the ATMs some youths in Ghana and other West African countries engage in various cyber crimes using the computers.

Computer crime, or Cybercrime, involves the use of computers to commit crime against individuals or groups of individuals, using modern telecommunication networks including breaking into email accounts of people and organizations. Although the youth go to schools to learn the art of using computers or learn them from their peers some of them do not put them to good use.

The skills exhibited by the average youth on computers in the West Africa sub region shows that they are highly brilliant with the ability of these young ones to excel in their chosen such as engineering, medicine, foreign service, soccer to mention. But the activities of some of these youth leave much to be desired.

Instead of following approved learning routes, some of the youth are getting carried by modern trends to engage in illegal ‘get rich quick’ activities. Week in week out Ghanaian youth in the sub region either get away with their tricks or get arrested for duping some persons and institutions a situation that put them in danger of getting their carriers truncated.

The media is currently inundated with stories about their modus operandi that are ‘mind boggling’ having succeeded in duping Ghanaians and foreigners some of who are forced to pursue the tricksters to Ghana. After learning of their tricks one wonder how they manage to conjure magic to steal millions of dollars in their chosen criminal acts.

They are able to easily deceive their victims into believing that the victims have won huge cash from UNDP, UNESCO, ECOWAS, or WORLD BANK. Surpringly the crooks are able to get away with these elementary tricks. The victims some of who hold responsible positions are often blamed for their sheer level of gullibility. The criminal activities of the youth could be traced to , peer pressure, lack of good parental care, greed and the desire for those involved to catch up with their colleagues who have become successful in life owning cars, buildings and business firms.

The ‘crooks’ are often arrested by the Ghana police service in Ghana which has set up a special division to track down the crooks and devised a means of discouraging them from the dastardly acts. Those arrested are put before courts and sentenced to many months or years of imprisonment. The heavy sentences imposed on them are meant to serve as deterrent to others but surprisingly a lot more youth still gravitate towards criminal activities.

The police are doing their bit but since policing is now a shared responsibility there is the need for the public to volunteer information on the criminal activities in the country including armed robbery, cyber crimes and the like. Fortunately the Ghana Police Service has established a community policing unit to work together with the people in our communities. Those in charge must do well to help form community groups to fight crime through education and intelligent gathering. Parents of the youth concerned must be up and doing by engaging in the age old counseling of their children against petty theft before they grow into becoming adults. Extended Family heads also have a duty to intervene to save the situation by talking to the youth to stay clear from criminal activities to maintain the dignity and good name of their families.

The religious bodies are already doing a lot in the area of sensitization counseling and teaching in churches and mosques . They must continue this duties to help in promoting the orderly and good upbringing of the children in the fear of God. The government must team up with the churches, chiefs and civil society organizations to educate children while in school and in the neighborhoods in the right ways of using computers. Competitions must be introduced with incentive packages to ensure that the brilliant ones among the youth are rewarded for excelling in the good use of computers to write articles and graphics among other things.

Since Ghana is part of the economic community of West African ECOWAS our leaders must do well to get the sub regional grouping to discuss cyber crime and cross border crime further with the view to finding solution to it. Now that the Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama is Chairman of ECOWAS it should be easy for us to pursue this path It is our belief that it is only when we take these steps that we can succeed in dealing ruthlessly with the young criminals.

Source: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com

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