HomeNewsBriefJamaica Murder Spike Gang Related: Police
BRIEF

Jamaica Murder Spike Gang Related: Police

CARIBBEAN / 25 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Police in Jamaica have reported a spike in murders in the first nine months of this year, a pattern they attribute to a rise in gang numbers and activity.

According to the figures released on September 23 by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), 860 homicides were recorded between January and September 23 this year, compared to 820 in the corresponding period in 2012, reported the Jamaica Observer

The most heavily affected parishes were Trelawny and St Mary -- reporting a 150 percent and 86 percent rise respectively -- while central and western Kingston, Clarendon and Portland also reported notable increases, reported the Jamaica Gleaner.  

The latest figures emerged after an apparent spate of 34 murders in one week, with RJR News reporting the JCF's figures at 856 killings up to September 23, compared to 822 on September 14.   

In a statement released on September 24, JCF Commissioner Owen Ellington attributed the recent spate of murders to escalating gang conflicts despite increased arrests and gun seizures by police.

JamaicaMap3

InSight Crime Analysis

Jamaica is the most violent island in the Caribbean, with a reported homicide rate of 41 per 100,000 in 2011, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2012 report "Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and the Caribbean." Much of the violence on the island is perpetuated by warring gangs involved in drug trafficking, as well as street crime and property theft. 

2CaribbeanHomicides2010

Jamaica was a key transit point for cocaine, both to the United States and to Great Britain. However, its importance has declined drastically, with the 2012 report highlighting how 11 percent of cocaine destined for the United States passed through the island in 2000, compared to two percent in 2005 and one percent in 2007.

Nevertheless, Jamaica not only remains a cocaine transit country, it is also a marijuana producer and the biggest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States, according to the US State Department's 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. An estimated 15,000 hectares is cultivated annually, most of which is either shipped directly to the United States and Europe, or exchanged for cocaine with transnational criminal groups in Central America.

Competition for these criminal revenues may go some way to explaining the high murder rate. Another reason is the ineffectiveness of law enforcement. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for murder is just five percent, while progress in combating narcotics, illicit trafficking and corruption is "hobbled by an underfunded, overburdened and sluggish criminal justice system with limited effectiveness in obtaining criminal convictions." 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 13 FEB 2017

The government of Peru is seeking the detention of the country's former president on charges related to an expansive bribery…

HOMICIDES / 29 OCT 2015

Homicides in Mexico City are reportedly at their highest levels since the turn of the 21st century, a telling reminder…

HOMICIDES / 2 OCT 2018

Mexico’s failure to gather quality data on homicides is preventing the country from developing effective policies to tackle rising violence,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…