Friday, May 4, 2018

Dominica In Bad Company

The Igarapé Institute, a Brazilian Security think tank, has issued a report declaring that one in three murders in the world occur in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with only 8% of the world's population. The report entitled "Citizen security in Latin America" has just been released and its authors state that many countries and cities "are facing a chronic public security crisis". Using the latest data available on crime statistics, El Salvador leads the top 20 countries in the world by homicide rate, with 3,954 reported murders in 2017, or 60 per 100,000. Dominica comes in at number 20, with 12 murders reported in 2013, the last year crime statistics were available, a rate of 16.7 murders per 100,000.

Dominica is by no means the only CARICOM country on the list. Jamaica with 1,616 murders recorded in 2017, is No.2 on the list, followed by St. Kitts & Nevis (#5), Trinidad & Tobago (#8), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (#9), St. Lucia (#11), The Bahamas (#12), and Antigua & Barbuda (#15) are all ahead of us in a race that none of us should be associated with. What are our governments doing about this?

Attempting to establish the reasons for the surging crime rates, the report makes references to youth unemployment as a significant reason, something that we know quite a bit about in Dominica. Our young people face significant hurdles today. Youth unemployment is high, many are surviving on handouts from the Skerrit government, drugs, child abuse, inequality - all reasons that are proven contributing factors to increasing crime rates. This explosive trend, if not reversed soon, will skyrocket out of control.

The report indicates that 83% of the murders in the Caribbean were committed by men, compared with 74% across the rest of the globe. Also, 50% of homicide victims are between 15 and 30 years of age, an astonishing statistic that portends trouble for our society. The prevalence of firearms continues to menace us, with 51% of homicides being committed with guns. Whatever happened to the guns found at the port? Has anyone heard from our police National Security minister on this?

Of the top 50 global cities, San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, comes in as the most violent city in Latin America and the world, with a murder rate of 136.7 per 100,000 (2016). In the United States, St. Louis, Missouri (#19) tops the homicide statistics at 59.3 per 100,000. Cape Town, South Africa (#15) leads the continent with a murder rate of 61.5 per 100,000. In the Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica lines up as the 49th most murderous capital in the world, at a rate of 43.2 per 100,000.

The costs of crime on the economies of the individual states is also significant, with the Bahamas topping the region at 4.8% of GDP (2014), followed by Jamaica at 3.9% of GDP (2014), and Trinidad and Tobago, at 3.5% of GDP (2014), according to statistics provided by Economist Laura Jaitman, a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

To see the full report,

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