‘436 Jamaicans killed in 101 days’, this is the latest banner in the Sunday Gleaner of April 11, 2010 as an ‘update’ of the murder figures are fed to us on a daily basis. This generates a lot of fear and the feeling that this ‘monster’ called crime continues to rocket out of control. Areas such as Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. James and Clarendon have accounted for a high percentage of the crimes committed. Rural areas have seen an increase in crime as it is no longer concentrated in urban areas. It becomes imperative therefore that an examination into the relationship between gender and crime in urban Jamaica be undertaken.
It was said once that a person is murdered every six hours and it’s a certainty that this time has decreased as the murders increase. Jamaica is reported to have more churches per square mile than any other nation but the crime situation is higher than that of some developed nations with larger population. The crime situation has reached a level so that Kingston was labeled the ‘murder capital of the world’. Successive governments have tried various measures and have employed their brightest minds in the area of national security, but to no avail.
Statement of the Research Problem
An investigation into the relationship between gender and crime in urban Jamaica.
How is crime affected by gender?
What extent does gender determines one’s propensity to commit crime?
Jamaica is among countries in the Americas ranked as having a high homicide rate. Though not unique to us, it is still alarming because Jamaica is not at war with another nation. The alarming crime rate and the perceived inability to deal with it has negatively impacted the nation the business and government sectors.
Anthony Harriott, Police and Crime Control in Jamaica (2000) pointed out that in countries similar to Jamaica, where high levels of inequality exist there is an association with high levels of crime thus pointing to alienating and excluding factors of the social structures (p.5). The reason therefore, for conducting this research is to determine whether or not there is a correlation between gender and crime. Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, and Clarendon will be the focus as data have indicated that crime is high in these areas.
The objectives of the research are as follows:
To determine if there is a correlation between gender and crime
To identify factors which contribute towards the committing of crime
To assess the rate at which males are more likely to commit crime than females
To establish how one’s gender affects one’s decision to become a criminal
Review of Literature
‘Jamaican males are marginalized’. This view is often expressed by educated professionals within the Jamaican society such as Professor Errol Miller and Dr. Leachim Semaj, however to what extent is this so no one is sure. The statement is often used when males get into trouble with the law and they tell of the missed opportunities due to their areas of abode thus limiting their prospects for meaningful employment. The researcher has undertaken the task of establishing whether or not there is a correlation between males and crime such as murder, robbery and shooting.
In order to understand the crime situation in Jamaica, a historical perspective must be examined. Headley (1996) stated, “the creeping levels of crime and violence have, in fact, been Jamaica’s lot since about the 1960s” (p.5). This was attributed to the society’s deep-rooted social structural problems which began manifesting itself during that time. Headley went on to say that a number of studies on violent crime trends in Jamaica arrived at a consensus: crime skyrocketed in the years following political independence. Dudley Allen, for example. noted that the crime rate doubled for the period 1962 through to 1975. William Wilbanks, another...
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