The coverage, range and distribution of data collected by the Jamaica Crime Observatory is to be improved, following an injection of $43.9 million.
The money is being provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), through its Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP), funded by the World Bank.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to solidify this arrangement was signed by representatives of the Ministry of National Security and JSIF during a ceremony at the St. Andrew offices of JSIF, on Thursday (February 28).
The JSIF’s Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, said he is pleased that since its inception in 2011, the facility has redounded to the benefit of the Ministry of National Security.
He noted that under the agreement, the institutional capacity of the Jamaica Crime Observatory will be improved by expanding its coverage, and improving the software used to analyse the data collected.
Mr. Sweeney also informed that capacity building activities will also be carried out for staff to analyse and disseminate a greater volume of information.
The funds will also go towards conducting victimisation surveys.
In the meantime, the National Security Ministry’s Chief Technical Director, Security Policy and Risk Management Affairs, Rohan Richards, welcomed the support.
Mr. Richards said the additional support will help to fulfill the objective of the Observatory, which is to improve the quality of crime and violence statistics that directly influence the design and implementation of evidence based strategies and policies.
“Now more than ever, there is a need to bolster our crime surveillance capacity to contribute towards improved management of our urban spaces as well as public safety,” he said.
The Crime Observatory is an instrument through which the Ministry of National Security keeps up to date, reliable data to promote transparency, security and safety in the national interest.
It also establishes valid and consistent crime and violence related statistics for each community as well as the corresponding geo-reference maps of the cases, and uses the data to inform policy and decision making towards the development of improved citizen security and prevention measures.
The Observatory collects data on seven crime and violence categories (murder, shooting, sexual offence, robbery, fatal shootings, traffic fatalities and suicide) across 14 parishes. Data collected by the crime observatory is used by the Government, private sector, academia, civil society and other groups.
Jamaica is one of three Caribbean countries to have an established crime observatory. The others are Belize and Guyana.