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  • He noted that data from the last 10 years indicate that, increasingly, the victims and perpetrators of category-one crimes, such as homicides, are from this age group.
  • “They are not born criminals [so] if they are provided with the opportunity to live an honest, decent, and productive life, they will, in fact, take that path,” he said.
  • “It is the responsibility of the public sector to ensure that the services to these communities are taken to the level that they can have equity in the wider society and are being provided with social justice in every way,” he disclosed.

The Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Government has implemented social investments to target youth within the 15 to 24 age group.

He noted that data from the last 10 years indicate that, increasingly, the victims and perpetrators of category-one crimes, such as homicides, are from this age group.

“Research confirms that an average of 40 per cent of all known murder offenders in Jamaica are young men between the ages of 15 and 24 years. In other words, four of every 10 persons arrested for murder are young men between the ages of 15 and 24,” he disclosed.

Additionally, he pointed out that in 2020, 16 per cent of murder victims were between the ages of 15 and 24, while 21 and 22 per cent were youth victims, relative to murder in the years 2019 and 2018 respectively.

“Youth within this age range are taking up leadership roles within violent gangs, having been groomed by ‘Dons’ and other violent producers to commit gun and other violent crimes,” he stated.

Dr. Chang was speaking at the virtual United Nations Development Programme Youth Summit on crime and violence, for World Peace Day on Tuesday, September 21.

Minister Chang added that creating an environment in which young people can achieve their ambitions will help to decrease the dominance of criminal activity in their respective communities.

“They are not born criminals [so] if they are provided with the opportunity to live an honest, decent, and productive life, they will, in fact, take that path,” he said.

He listed that some social interventions should include rehabilitation programmes within the correctional centres for juveniles, better public healthcare, particularly for young and single mothers, socio-security support for the single-mother families, quality schooling at all levels and training and employment opportunities.

“It is the responsibility of the public sector to ensure that the services to these communities are taken to the level that they can have equity in the wider society and are being provided with social justice in every way,” he disclosed.

The Minister said the Ministry will continue to work with the relevant agencies to embrace these social interventions.

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