The Caribbean Policy Research Institute, CaPRI, is raising questions about the long term effectiveness of States of Emergency, in discouraging gang violence.

CaPRI’s Researcher Joanna Callen was presenting findings of a study the entity conducted on gang violence in Jamaica, yesterday.

Ms Callen says Jamaica’s problem is with violence, and especially gang violence.

She notes that Jamaica has the second highest murder rate in the Latin America and Caribbean region with 47 murders per 100- thousand people, compared to 6 per 100,000 people- the region’s average.

According to Ms Callen, suppressive strategies like the May 2010 Tivoli incursion, can have unintended consequence of splintering gangs.

She notes the security forces and prosecutors are utilizing the anti- gang law and other legislation to address crime.

Joanna Callen, Researcher at the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, speaking at a CaPRI function yesterday.

She says crime fighters should target the proceeds of gang violence, use more plea bargaining deals, and improve use of electronically generated evidence, such as videos and allow witnesses to testify using video-links.

Ms Callen says the number of gangs are increasing.

She notes that the murder rate fell from 62-per 100-thousand in 2009 to 36 per 100-thousand in 2014.

And she shared statistics to illustrate the high rate of violence perpetrated in our country.

Joanna Callen, Researcher at the Caribbean Policy Research Institute.
She’s calling on the recently established Violence Prevention Commission, to engage the public, and to pave the way for bi-partisan agreement and policy to tackle crime and violence.

Ms Callen is also calling for more focus to be placed on preventative crime strategies.