HomeNewsBriefJamaica's New Security Plan Off to Inauspicious Beginning
BRIEF

Jamaica's New Security Plan Off to Inauspicious Beginning

CARIBBEAN / 8 SEP 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

Based on erroneous and false information, the Jamaican government has launched a new initiative to corral criminal groups in what is possibly the wrong urban zone, residents of the area claim. 

Mount Salem residents said the police furnished Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the government's top security agency -- the National Security Council (NSC) -- with incorrect data about murders and gang presence in their neighborhood in the St. James parish, The Jamaica Gleaner reported. The residents said there were 4, not 12 gangs, and that it had seen 12 murders this year, not the 54 the police claimed.

The distinction is critical. Holness presented the police's data on September 1, to justify making Mount Salem the first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO), reported the Jamaica Observer. The police has since admitted that it made a mistake with the data, but the government has continued with its plan, which allows authorities to designate a violent neighborhood as a ZOSO and deploy a joint police-military force. The joint force has the authority to conduct searches without warrants for 60 days, and is supposedly followed up by social and community programs meant to prevent crime.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Security Policy

The NSC argued that "the nature of the error would not have affected the decision of the NSC, as it was limited to only one of the factors used to determine the zone," according to The Jamaica Gleaner. At the same time, the NSC called on the police to "review their systems of data collection, collation and reporting."

InSight Crime Analysis

Amid high levels of homicides, Jamaican authorities appear more pressed to take action than take a careful, studied approach to citizen security. In this case, they implemented their plan in reverse order. The government's first priority should be clearly defining the hot spots. That way, they will know how and what resources they will need to deploy. Instead, they moved on data that was wrong on not one, but two factors: homicides and the number of operational criminal groups.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

Despite claims by the prime minister that "the next zone of special operations will be declared based on careful intelligence and planning," trust with the community will be hard to rebuild. To be sure, the decision to maintain the ZOSO in Mount Salem even after having to publicly admit its error, illustrates that the government is ready to adapt the reality to match the policy rather than the other way around.

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

CARIBBEAN / 4 JUL 2022

On June 28, the Cuban Interior Ministry announced that at least two clashes between speedboat crews coming from the United…

ARGENTINA / 23 DEC 2021

A spree of illegal fishing occurred across Latin America this past year, much of it driven by competition for diminishing…

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…