Gangs, murder and the Jamaican media
THE EDITOR, Sir;
We note, with high amusement many comments, whether it may be in print or electronic media.
In January 2017, Jamaica experienced a 51 per cent (approximately, per Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) statistics) increase in murder compared to the same period for 2016, due primarily to gang warfare in 24 communities across the Island. The other 754 Jamaican communities were not affected physically.
The Ministry of National Security, under Robert Montague, and the teams at the JCF and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) put in place a national strategy which, by April 2017, brought the figure down to 14.65 per cent compared to 2016. As a result, the recent spike, caused primarily by gang warfare, has gone back up in the last couple of weeks to 19.2 per cent, a 4.55 per cent spike, but not as high as the 51 per cent spike in January.
However, based on what we are hearing and reading, it feels as if the entire Jamaica is in a civil war. What is causing this? Simple put: the 600 per cent media perception in Jamaica, the highest in the world.
What is the 600 per cent media perception? In the National Crime Victimisation Survey 2016, sample size 3,500, under the Fear of Crime section, when asked if crime had increased in your community over the last five years, only 9.3 per cent said yes. When asked the same question nationally, 60.4 per cent said yes. This highly significant difference is the 600 per cent media perception factor and for Jamaica, it is the highest in the world.
Loss of life significant
Figures aside, the loss of one life, much less 672 to June 17, 2017, is extremely significant.
Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, as far back as the late 19th century, made the point that the police don't solve crimes it is the people that do so. If the people do not come forward and assist the police with information, the task of reducing crime is difficult.
Hence, the approach must be a holistic method, one built on trust.
Dr Charles Demontaque, PhD