Availability of Data Critical in the Fight Against Crime – Montague

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, addressing a forum organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (May 2). The forum was entitled: ‘Crime and Violence in Jamaica: Data Driven Policy for Effective Citizen Security’ .

Story Highlights

  • Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, says the continuous collection and analysis of reliable data are essential in addressing crime and violence in the country.
  • “To develop effective and informed interventions, better data are needed, and not only about crime in the traditional sense but about intimate-partner violence, child abuse, neglect and other domestic-type violence,” he noted.
  • Minister Montague said that the availability of data can facilitate parish- or neighbourhood-specific crime plans.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, says the continuous collection and analysis of reliable data are essential in addressing crime and violence in the country.

He said the availability of data is critical in the development of preventative strategies and facilitates effective deployment of resources.

“To develop effective and informed interventions, better data are needed, and not only about crime in the traditional sense but about intimate-partner violence, child abuse, neglect and other domestic-type violence,” he noted.

The Minister was speaking at a crime-prevention forum at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (May 2).

He noted that the five-pillar crime strategy, which was recently tabled in the House of Representatives and outlines the Government’s strategic perspectives in the fight against crime, “cannot be successful without complete and accurate data”.

The strategy focuses on a sure and swift justice process, crime prevention through social development, situational prevention, effective policing and reducing reoffending.

Minister Montague said that the availability of data can facilitate parish- or neighbourhood-specific crime plans.

He noted, for example, that while the findings of the 2016 national crime victimisation survey indicate that victimisation levels are declining nationally, fear of criminal victimisation was highest in St. James, Trelawny, Clarendon and St. Catherine.

“Armed with this data, we can devise policies to improve upon these results in these specific parishes. Data from community surveys, systemic observations and crime-prevention assessments are necessary ingredients for data-driven crime prevention,” he pointed out.

Minister Montague said the country’s forensic data gathering and analysis continue to improve. “When a weapon is taken off the streets, it is now put through a rigorous process of analysis, and, as a result, we have now developed a system where guns are assigned names and are ranked,” he pointed out.

He said the data suggest that “guns are moving from parish to parish; therefore, it is telling us that we need to prevent (criminals) from moving so easily across parish boundaries”.

The forum, entitled ‘Crime and Violence in Jamaica: Data-Driven Policy for Effective Citizen Security’ was organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

It was aimed at forging a multisectoral approach to security policy decision-making, driven by data and information.

Local and international experts and academics led the discussion on how data and information can be used more effectively in crime prevention, policing and reintegration.

IDB Country Representative for Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones, noted that the forum will assist the IDB, in partnership with the Ministry of National Security, to continue to improve citizen security through the implementation of evidence-based interventions that can lead to crime reduction.

“When we successfully reduce crime, we are simultaneously improving lives,” she pointed out.

The IDB has been working with the Government for 17 years in several areas focused on crime prevention, such as the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).

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