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CRIME SCOURGE: Jamaicans list crime as country's main problem


CRIME SCOURGE: Jamaicans list crime as country's main problem

Despite official statistics showing that murders have declined by 44 per cent, Jamaicans still consider crime to be the main problem facing the country, according to a new opinion poll published here on Wednesday. “These results are not saying that economy and employment are not important, what is happening is a relative comparison, people still think that there are still problems associated with crime,” said Professor Ian Boxill, who conducted the April 9-15 poll on behalf of the RJR Communications Group. According to the pollster, 41.5 per cent of the 1,115 persons questioned identify crime as the main problem facing the country; while 23 per cent felt unemployment was the main issue with 15 per cent pointing to the economy. Four per cent felt corruption and bad governance were the main problem. Police have reported a steady decline in crime ever since the June 2010 incursion into the West Kingston community of Tivoili Gardens to arrest reputed drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who has since been extradited to the United States where he is wanted on drugs and fire-arm related charges. But only one in two Jamaicans – 51 per cent - believes the anti crime measures are a success, down from 73 per cent last year. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent and Boxill said the results were not dissimilar to the results over the past 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, commentators and political observers have given differing views on the crime situation here. Lecturer and Communications Specialist at the University of Technology (UTECH), Martin Henry, thinks the public has not yet acknowledged and appreciated the decrease in crime, but will eventually do so. “I would expect there would be a significant lag time between the reduction and the public perception following with a greater sense of public safety,” Henry said. Political Commentator, Lloyd B. Smith, feels the numbers do not reflect what some people are experiencing daily. “People within their own space, within their homes, when they walk the street do not necessarily feel that this publicized statistical evidence reflects their own experience,” Smith said.

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