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Falconer points finger at domestic violence

Published:Saturday | April 24, 2010 | 4:00 AM

Crime statistics became a hot topic in the Senate yesterday after Sandra Falconer's contribution to a debate on the Budget.

Murders since January 1 this year have darted past the 500 mark, triggering even greater concerns about the wanton bloodletting across the country, which has left many Jamaicans gripped by fear.

The opposition senator a called for a reduction in domestic violence.

"We know that domestic violence - and the minister of national security will agree with me - that domestic violence contributes the most to the crime rate that we have. Most of the murders are in domestic situations," she argued.

To this remark, Minister of Security Dwight Nelson said: "Tell that to The Gleaner so that they can put it on their front page, too."

However, an examination of the data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 2009 shows that 52 per cent of the murders last year were gang-related. This means that 879 of the killings in 2009 were attributed to gang disputes. Domestic murders represented four per cent, or 65 of the 1,680 murders last year, an all-time record in any given year.

Silent Nelson

Minister Nelson has been silent on the runaway murder rate in recent times. His last comment in the Senate on the issue of crime and the rapidly climbing murder rate was during his rebuttal of allegations made in the 2010 International Narcotics Control Report issued by the United States (US) in early March. The report said Jamaica was less than cooperative in the fight against organised crime.

Nelson, in a statement to the Senate, had said the US report did not accurately represent the efforts of the security forces and the Jamaican authorities in the fight against international drug trafficking and organised crime.