OPPOSITION LEADER Andrew Holness has said crime is getting the better of the Government.
"I'm not here saying that we blame singly the People's National Party (PNP) for the rise in crime, but they must take responsibility for the rise in crime," he said, suggesting that the Government was passing blame to other sectors.
"Crime is an outcome of our social interpersonal interactions," he said. "Crime is also driven by the economic conditions. The strategy to address crime, therefore, has to address these two main root causes."
He said Jamaicans had to figure out why persons resort to violence to solve disputes and look at what is happening in the economy why persons choose criminal activity for economic benefit. Holness and other seniors members of the Jamaica Labour Party held a press conference on Tuesday to address the rise in serious crimes at the party's Belmont Road headquarters.
"Many Jamaicans would be surprised to know that Haiti, a country that is much poorer than Jamaica, has a far lower crime rate than we do," he said. Holness opined that a reduction in expenditure on social-intervention programmes was having an immediate impact on crime.
"Once we are not spending enough resources and effort on dispute resolution, access to justice, and just simply treating people with respect in the community, … then all the other social variables … will start to deteriorate."
He also said it was no coincidence that the rise in unemployment and crime were simultaneous.
"In fact, whenever there is a deterioration in the economy, crime rises," he said, opining that these trends always occurred whenever the PNP was in power. Holness called on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to provide proper leadership and direction.
"It starts with defining the space that the State will protect and say here is the zero-tolerance approach for these issues."
Data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force for January 1 to December 14, 2013 confirmed murders are up 10 per cent over last year, from 1,050 to 1,160. Shootings are up by one per cent from 2012, with 1,188 reported that year compared to 1,195 so far in 2013. The use of guns in robberies (1,699) and rapes (119) has also increased. In 2012, the numbers were 1,648 and 87, respectively.
However, rape and aggravated assault are down by 17 and 14 per cent, respectively. Robberies (five per cent), break-ins (24 per cent) and larcenies (32 per cent) are also down from 2012. The police has also recovered more firearms (685) in 2013 than in 2012 (565).