According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, over the last two years, the Enhanced Security Measures have reduced murders by up to 70% in high-crime communities, potentially saving hundreds of lives. Claiming that Jamaica’s crime and enforcement figures are now trending in the right direction. However, not everyone is in agreement with this statement, citing that enhanced security measures are still not working.
The presence of police officers and soldiers in communities in St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, St. Catherine, Clarendon, and the St. Andrew south police division are an indication that the state of emergency is still in effect. It is an ongoing effort by the Jamaican government to reduce crime – and a measure that the opposition party believes has become ineffective.
However, the latest figures revealed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force has shown crime trending down from 11 267 in 2010 to 5981 in 2019. A comparison of 2017 and 2018 figures also show murders down by over 21% and shootings by 22%
Opposition spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson, believes that the government’s central crime management strategy of States of Emergency and Zones of Special Operations of over two years application has failed miserably. He says with almost half the country under Soes, there is a substantial increase in murders, shootings, robberies, and break-ins. Jackson adds that with this documented and factual failure how can the Government and Commissioner of police claim success.
In 2019, the US Department of State issued a travel advisory indicating that travelers should exercise caution if and when they visit the country. Forbes magazine had just recently listed Jamaica as the 3rd most dangerous place for women travelers, Business Insider had ranked the country 10th among the 20 most dangerous places in the world and the International Monetary Fund had cited crime as the number one impediment to growth.
PSOJ president Keith Duncan believes that Jamaica now needs a national consensus on its crime strategy and a bipartisan approach from major parties. However, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson believes more can be done to solve the crime problem.
Khadijah Thomas is an energetic and charismatic news reporter and the producer of weekly feature: Missing. Khadijah is a passionate about news and current affairs and has a particular interest social justice and education.