The Primary Factors Contributing to Crime and Violence in Jamaica. Jamaica is a society which has been affected by crime and violence over the past years, and is continuously been affect by this phenomenal. Crime and violence involves the intent or use of psychological and physical force or power against oneself or another to do harm (Hoffman, 2009). Jamaica is a country plagued by crime and violence, especially in urban areas. Jamaica since 1977 has become the Caribbean nation with the highest homicide rate in its citizenry and continues to hold this position (Harriott, 2007.) The primary contributing factors for crime and violence in Jamaica is a challenge to identify as crime and violence can thrive in so many environments. However the proximate or primary factors can be classified as; corruption, demographics, unemployment, destabilized family, weak justice system, an interconnecting network of criminal gangs, drugs running, politics and the police. According to Harriott, Demographics are a background factor which is contributing to crime and violent in Jamaica. In Jamaica the age group 15-29 is held responsible for most of the violent crimes committed within the country. In particular males in this age group are the prime offenders, they are also prime victims. Over the past years the age group 15-29 has being expanding rapidly. As a result the factor behind our high crime rate is the huge population of ages 15 -29. Due to this high percentage in the age group 15-25 there is an increase in juvenile and violent crime especially where there is the availability of guns. Harriott further stated that we currently experiencing the worst demographic factor for m 1985, and this will continue until 2020 where we are expected to see an 87 per cent decline of its 1995 size. Urbanization is the second factor, which in order to understand the demographics factors one must associate the two factors. Coming from being 30 per cent urban in 1960, Jamaica was about 60 per cent urban in the year 2000. There is also a process of secondary urbanization in St James (3.7 per cent), Mandeville (3.1 per cent), St Ann (2.4 per cent), and Kingston and St Andrew (2.3 per cent) which had the largest percentage increase in population between 1996 and 1998. From these figures above one can say that there is a decline in the rural population and an increase growth for secondary urbanization, in the tourist and bauxite towns of Montego Bay, Mandeville, and Ocho Rios. All parish capitals are experiencing urbanizations; as a result the high risk group (ages 15-29) is being increasingly compacted in dense, poor, urban neighborhoods, (Slums). This problem points to potential for high crimes rates in Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine, which is also exported to other developing urban centers.
High rate of youth employment is also one of the leading factors of crime and violent in Jamaica. The rate of unemployment in Jamaica is 17.5 per cent. . Unemployment in Jamaica especially among Jamaican teen leads to poverty, idleness, low self-esteem, frustration, and eventually crime and violence according to Don Anderson survey. Employment is seen as the way to survive so without work youths tends to be weaken and consequently this leads to idleness, which leads to badness, gang wars, and crime and violence. Youths also admits that they would have less time and energy to steal and commit other crimes if they were working. Harriott stated that in 1998 the unemployment rate for 14-29 age groups was 26.5 per cent. This rate consists of 18.9 per cent young males, and 35 per cent young females. (Anderson 1998). The unemployment rate for young males (14-29) in Kingston Metropolitan Area was 17.8 per cent in 1998, compared to 26.5 per cent in other towns and 17 per cent in rural areas. In St A Andrew and Kingston there is a pressure on young males for economic support form baby mothers, mothers, siblings and other family members....
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