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State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Dr. Donald Rhodd has emphasized that in order to solve the issue of crime and violence in Jamaica, the community has to be the central part of the solution.
“In this regard, the Parish Crime Prevention Initiative was launched and implemented and now operates in at least 9 communities across the island. Critical to this approach is the shift in focus of the security forces from crime management to crime prevention,” he said.
Dr. Rhodd was speaking at a Parish Crime Prevention Initiative and Community Safety Forum in St. Ann on Thursday, August 10.
The State Minister pointed out that the shift was driven by intelligence, where “we rely on actionable information provided by the residents of the communities which are plagued by criminals”. He added that crime prevention committees and citizen security groups have been established in the communities to work along with the police officers, thus providing intelligence to the security forces, “which then make surgical interventions in these communities to apprehend the criminal elements or neutralize them”.
Dr. Rhodd explained that this model of the community at the heart of fighting crime has been very effective in reducing crime, adding that those who are tempted to doubt the efficacy of this approach need only to reflect on the trends which were emerging.
“For the month of August there has been a 34 per cent decrease in the number of murders when compared to the similar period last year. Overall, there has been a 24 per cent reduction in crime with all major crimes trending down,” said the State Minister.
“I firmly believe that the parish crime prevention initiative and the community security forum provide residents and citizens with an opportunity to choose a better way and a violent free way for their respective communities,” he continued.
In the meantime, Dr. Rhodd has commended the work of the Jamaica Social Policy Evaluation Project (JASPEV) in co-ordinating interventions in over 37 communities. The project places emphasis on continuing education, entrepreneurship and the relationship between the police and young people.
The State Minister said that initiatives such as these, “serve to strengthen and complement the work of the police force in weaning the dependence on dons, by inculcating in the minds of residents of vulnerable communities, a spirit of self reliance”.