Jamaican Murder Rate Drops

The Caribbean nation increases police presence to combat high crime rates.

Posted: 04/11/2011 11:07 AM EDT

For years, Jamaica has had the dubious distinction as being one of the murder capitals of the world. But recent stats show that the tide might be changing.

Last week, the nation’s Ministry of National Security announced that the murder rate from January to March dropped 44 percent (from 426 to 238) from the same time period last year. In addition, shootings were down 38 percent, carnal abuse was down 25 percent and break-ins were down 14 percent. Overall, crime went down 13.7 percent during the first quarter.

It was just 2009 when Jamaica, a nation that depends heavily on tourism, set a national record for murders with 1,680 people killed. Such statistics have led the U.S. State Department to warn travelers about crime, especially in hotspots Kingston and Montego Bay.

Officials attribute the drop in crime to a higher concentration of security in the country’s high-crime areas. To keep up the momentum, Jamaica’s National Security Minister Senator Dwight Nelson promised even more resources would be dedicated to the nation’s police and soldiers.


(Photo: HANS DERYK/Reuters/Landov)