Government taking aim at crime prevention among youth
The Ministry of National Security has embarked on a strategic plan to focus on crime prevention among youth over the long term.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Pearnel Charles Jr said that the programme will require the support of ministries and non-governmental organisations.
"The plan will see us educating and empowering youth with a view to preventing them from getting involved in criminal activities. The greatest investment we can make is to prevent people from getting into that system in the first place. So, we are focusing our energies there," he said.
Charles added that the programme would also engage youth in juvenile detention in rehabilitative activities, to ensure that they do not commit other offences.
"We don't want those children to mature and end up in adult correctional facilities," he told young persons participating in the Youth Summer Day Camp at Church on the Rock, Mannings Hill Road, Kingston, on Tuesday.
The minister commended the organisers of the camp for their contribution to nation-building through volunteerism and mentorship, which are essential for youth development.
"At this camp, the first thing you notice is the large number of volunteers, and that is something that we want to push. There are also mentors, especially for young boys, because when we examine the statistics, the males are making up almost 80 to 90 per cent of the perpetrators and victims of violence and crime," he noted.
Meanwhile, head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry briefed the youngsters on safety tips to protect them from becoming victims of trafficking.
He also provided information on the proper use of the Internet and social media sites.
The camp, which ends today, engaged 700 young persons aged 10 to 18 from several communities in Western Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine to equip them with life and social skills through sports, the visual and performing arts, and rap sessions.
The camp was hosted by the Church on the Rock Foundation in partnership with the Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.