MOU Signed to Enhance Collaboration on Jamaica Crime Observatory

Photo: JIS Photographer Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Major General (Retired) Stewart Saunders (left); Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Scarlette Gillings (centre); and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake, participate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate collaboration and information exchange for the Jamaica Crime Observatory. The signing ceremony took place on Thursday, September 19 at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston. Observing are signing are personnel from the Ministry.

Story Highlights

  • The move will ensure standardisation and accessibility to timely and reliable crime statistical data
  • ICVIS is a web-based crime and violence statistics databank covering the five parishes
  • The observatory was initially slated for piloting in 12 Inner City Basic Services Project communities

The Ministry of National Security on September 19 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with several government agencies to facilitate collaboration and information exchange for the Jamaica Crime Observatory.

The move will ensure standardisation and accessibility to timely and reliable crime statistical data, to support government’s efforts at reducing the incidence of crime and violence, particularly in high risk and vulnerable inner-city communities in Jamaica.

Speaking at the signing, held at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices, Permanent Secretary, Major General (retired) Stewart Saunders, welcomed the partnership, stating that the MoU would “allow us in many ways to not only understand more about the crime that we have to confront everyday in our society, but most importantly, to assist us to have a more informed strategy, as we move forward to tackle the problem”.

The Crime Observatory or Integrated Crime and Violence Information System (ICVIS) is a web-based crime and violence statistics databank covering the five parishes with the highest incidence of crime. These are Kingston, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Catherine and Clarendon. It was set up in 2011 through a grant from the Japan Social Development Fund, with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) implementing and managing activities under the grant.

The observatory, which is hosted by the National Security Ministry, was initially slated for piloting in 12 Inner City Basic Services Project communities, but following consultation with government stakeholders, it was recommended that it be more broadly adopted across the five targeted parishes.

In her remarks at the signing, Managing Director of the JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said that the Crime Observatory is an empowering tool.

“Stakeholders in crime and violence can analyze the data and feed results to the policy level to ensure that targeted decisions are made about responding in the immediate to long-term to security risk factors, while strengthening the capacity of first responders to violence,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Acting Director, Research and Evaluation in the National Security Ministry, Rochelle Clarke-Grey, stated that the observatory is a part of the Government’s strategic drive for evidence-based approach in crime fighting, and is articulated in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan, as well as the Ministry’s National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Strategy.

The observatory captures data for homicides, sexual assaults, traffic fatalities, and suicides. The data is presented either once or twice per month, depending on volume, and the information is then processed and standardised in variables of gender, age, and incident context.

Now in its third year, Ms. Clarke-Grey said the observatory can provide reliable and accurate data, in which the Ministry has confidence. “We are (focusing on) presenting bulletins, trying to assist requests for community data – and as such, we are moving from strength to strength,” she stated.

The signatories to the MoU are: the Ministry of Justice; Registrar General’s Department (RGD); Ministry of Education; JSIF; Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN); Forensic Science Laboratory; JCF; Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing; Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP); Court Management System; Child Development Agency (CDA); Bureau of Women’s Affairs; Ministry of Local Government and Community Development; Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); Violence Prevention Alliance; and the Insurance Association of Jamaica.

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