1,287 is not just another number.
It represents people who could be alive today, had criminals not cut them down across Jamaica last year.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in parliament yesterday, revealed: “The murder rate for last year stood at 1,287 persons.
“This is a 21.9 percent decline compared with [the figure for] 2017 and a 4.9 percent decline compared to [the number for] 2016.”
The prime minister further stated that 1,154 persons were shot last year, reflecting a 22.3 percent reduction when compared to the figure for 2017, and a 5.9 percent decline compared to the year 2016.
He said, although the murder rate is at the lowest level in the last three years, there is room for improvement.
“Though we have made significant gains in the reduction of violent crimes, we are not out of the woods. The criminal elements still retain the capacity, capability and the intent,” the prime minister said.
He continued: “Jamaica currently has a murder rate of approximately 47 per hundred thousand. This is almost 3 times higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean, which has the highest homicide rate globally of 16 per 100,000 of the population. We are at approximately 8 times higher than the global average of 6 per 100,000. Bear in mind that New York – a metropolis of more than 8 million people – had a murder rate of 3.3 per 100,000 or 289 murders in total.”
Prime Minister Holness, in the meantime, noted that violence is the leading cause of death in one age group that comprises potentially the island’s most productive citizens.
He explained: “By 2014 data, 67 percent of deaths in the population 5 years and older were due to non-communicable diseases.
“However, in the age group 15 to 35, violence is the main cause of death accounting for a 1/3 of all deaths in this age group. Violence is the second leading cause of death in the age group 35 to 45. These are the most productive years of our citizens. If this were a disease, epidemiology would classify this as a health emergency,” added Prime Minister Holness.
He also disclosed that, since the start of the year, the island has recorded 20 murders, compared to 45 in the previous year.
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