Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Crime observatory gets further $16.7 million

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 9:15 AM
Social Development Manager, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Mona Sue-Ho (left), presents Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Richard Stewart, with a signed copy of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the entities for the provision of additional funding for the Jamaica Crime Observatory Enhancement Project. The signing was held on January 22, 2020, at the JSIF's corporate offices in Kingston - Contributed photo

The Jamaica Crime Observatory (JCO) Enhancement Project is being further strengthened through injection of $16.7 million by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

The funds will go towards the provision of computer hardware and software for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Crime Database; boost human resources in the Ministry of National Security for the validation and cleaning of crime reports prior to submission to the JCO and assist in the coding of crime reports in preparation for analysis.

Representatives of the JSIF and the JCF signed a memorandum of understanding for the support during a ceremony on Wednesday at the fund’s corporate offices in Kingston.

Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst at JSIF Alecia Bennett-Bryan said that the project is being implemented through $43.9 million in funding from the World Bank. 

She said it is designed to improve the information collection, entry and validation processes required for input and use of JCO data.

Such information is useful in informing policy and decision-making towards the development of improved citizen security and prevention measures.

“This project is supporting human resources in terms of compilation of the data as well as the analysis of that data. It is supposed to strengthen what is already there at the JCF as well as at the Ministry of National Security,” Bennett-Bryan added.

She noted that a new aspect of the initiative is the use of a geographic information system (GIS).

“Specific GIS will be used to enhance not just data availability on the incidence of crime but the placement of the crime, to enable [personnel] to look at shapefiles to see where crime incidents are and for them to report it in real-time to the Ministry of National Security, where the database is actually located,” she explained.

Social Development Manager, JSIF, Mona Sue-Ho, in her remarks, said the JCO project is critical to the country’s crime-fighting efforts.

“I can’t emphasise [enough] how important this work is and how it impacts significantly on our ability to fight the scourge of crime. We are hoping this partnership will bring about safer communities for ourselves and for our children,” she said.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Richard Stewart, for his part, said that the partnership with JSIF on the crime observatory programme is in keeping with the suite of changes being undertaken by the Government to enhance crime-fighting.

“This system has the capacity to provide valid and consistent crime and violence-related data for communities with geo-reference maps of incidents. This tool is being leveraged in strategic and operational decisions. For example, we are better able to identify crime and crash hotspots and improve policing decisions within them,” he noted.

“As we aim to achieve the 2030 Vision, it cannot be doubted that huge investments must be made in our social infrastructure, and particularly in the establishment of peace and safety. To this end, the JCF stands ready to have conversations with all willing partners. We commit to ensure that Jamaica enjoys the returns from this investment by creating safer communities,” he added.

The JCO Enhancement Project started in August 2016 and is slated to end in May.

The JCO operates through a Technical Committee, which is comprised of 17 stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine  and the Registrar General’s Department.

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