Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Youth not convinced with Gov't crime-fighting efforts

Published:Monday | June 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Christopher Harper

The findings of the latest U-Report poll have shown that most young Jamaicans don't believe that enough is being done by Government to address crime in the country.

Of the 1,251 youngsters who were polled from June 1 to June 8, three hundred and ninety-eight responded to the question: Do you believe that the Government has done enough to address the issue of crime in Jamaica?

Of the total respondents, 83 per cent answered no, while 17 per cent said yes.

U-Report poll questions are usually posed in threes and respondents are not able to access the subsequent question without responding to the previous one.

The second poll question was: 'Which of the following would help to minimise incidents of crime in your community?' Forty-seven per cent of respondents selected: "Greater investment in youth programmes." Other responses included greater community involvement (25 per cent), greater police presence (20 per cent), and greater surveillance (eight per cent).

When asked the third poll question: 'Are you comfortable approaching the police?' Some 55 per cent responded no. The remaining 45 per cent indicated yes.

In commenting on the poll findings, National U-Report Coordinator Christopher Harper said, "We've heard talk of instituting a comprehensive crime plan to tackle the crime monster, but to no avail.

"If we look at the subsequent poll question, we will see where the solutions identified are greater investment in youth programmes and greater community involvement, which both suggests community intervention as the critical point in addressing crime."

Alnastazia Watson, a member of the U-Report steering committee, suggested that, "If we invest in programmes that already exist, we can ensure that they are more impactful and can better serve youth.

"This is the route that we should take. In fighting crime and violence, we need to see how we can address the issue from a community perspective and ensure that the response is inclusive and mindful of the importance of their engagement," she added.

According to police statistics, at least 565 persons have been killed islandwide as at May 26.

Developed by UNICEF, U-Report Jamaica is designed to give local youth an opportunity to voice their opinions via weekly online polls on issues that matter to them and, in turn, become positive agents of change.

Currently, 1,304 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 29 have been registered locally as U-reporters across three channels: Facebook, Twitter, and SMS, courtesy of FLOW Jamaica.