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IDB to support community programs in Jamaica to reduce crime
Published on June 26, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

WASHINGTON, USA -- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $20 million loan for Jamaica to strengthen community actions that seek to reduce crime and violence, especially among at-risk youths.

Despite advances in prevention efforts, Jamaica continues to suffer from high crime and violence. The homicide rate remains among the highest in the hemisphere and one in three Jamaicans say that a family member or friend has been murdered. Almost a quarter of Jamaicans report having been victim of a crime in the past year.

The IDB has supported the government of Jamaica in citizen security and justice programs since 2001, through interventions in 50 communities addressing individual, family, and community risk factors. The murder rate in the eight parishes in which these programs were implemented declined by 43 percent, compared to 35 percent nationally.

The new program, called Citizen Security and Justice Program III, focuses mainly on individual and community risk factors in urban, marginalized areas, addressing problems such as the use and tolerance of violence as a way to exert control and resolve disputes, the lack of economic opportunities, especially for youth, and the lack of channels for alternative dispute resolution.

The idea is to promote a culture change that facilitates a more peaceful co-existence and community governance, through interventions that provide knowledge and opportunities.

A comprehensive program for selected youth includes classroom and workplace training, life skills, job preparation and placement services. Another component aims to improve access to community-based justice services complementary to the formal court system, and to strengthen Jamaica’s Ministry of Justice capacity to manage and monitor these services.

The program, which will include rigorous monitoring and evaluations, contains specific targets to lower murder rates in target communities and improve security perceptions.
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