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Survey reveals Caribbean people worried about crime in the region

Published:Tuesday | July 19, 2011 | 10:14 AM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC –A soon to be published United Nations report on citizen security in the region shows large sections of Caribbean people feel unsafe and do not have confidence in what is being done to combat crime.

The Victimization Survey was undertaken on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Caribbean Human Development Report and conducted in seven countries, namely, Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, during the period November 2010 to February 2011.

The Caribbean Human Development Report on Citizen Security is the first of its kind for the region and will be launched here later this year.

The report has the objective of better understanding why citizen security is so badly needed in these countries and why violence and insecurity are so prevalent in Caribbean. It intends to be an instrument to deal with such issues from a regional perspective, while at the same time taking into account the national level issues and specificities.

“The sample for the survey was designed to reflect the key demographic characteristics of the adult population of the participating countries based on the composition of the most recent Population Census of each country.

“ A multi-stage, stratified area probability sample was designed with the objective of accomplishing the highest level of representativeness and dispersion of selected sampling units and in turn, respondents for the study,” the UNDP said in the report, a copy of which has been obtained by CMC.

Communication Consultant Kevin Garcia told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that 11, 207 people were polled across the seven Caribbean countries with the main question being “Do you think that crime is a major social problem”.

He said the figures of the perception of insecurity were very information with St. Lucia being at the top with 42 per cent followed by Trinidad and Tobago at 38 per cent and Jamaica “surprisingly at third with 26 per cent.

“Again when you look at perception, you are living here your country is so bad…but how do people really see governments, lawmakers handling the situation, the statistics show it and Trinidad and Tobago ranks 59 on the human development index yet we are second, 38 per cent of people think that not enough is being done and crime is a major problem”>

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative here, Dr. Marcia De Castro said there is a need to find solutions to the crime problem in the region and economic growth depends on a safe population.

“We are not all equal and security is not equally distributed in any of our countries and that is very important.

“There are a number of challenges out there…in this report and many reports that if the level of insecurity in Trinidad and Tobago and in the other countries we are targeting right now, if continue will undermine the gains the country has made in terms of economic growth, stability, being a desirable destination for investments and business,” she added.

Meantime, a survey on the “Confidence in the Criminal Justice in the Americas” undertaken by the in collaboration with the Vanderbilt University found that within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Suriname was topped with 54.9 per cent followed by Jamaica with 54.8 and Guyana 53.2 per cent while Trinidad and Tobago was at the bottom with 36.8 per cent.

The authors of the survey said that in no country is faith in the criminal justice system “exceptionally high” with the United States topping the list at 56.1 per cent.