Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, called on a number of government agencies to help in addressing social issues that contribute to Jamaica’s high crime rate.
Dr Chang, who also serves as deputy prime minister, made the call this morning during a meeting with representatives from the ministries of local government and rural development; education, youth and information; housing, urban renewal, environment and climate change; economic growth and job creation; labour and social security.
Officials from Heart Trust NSTA, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund were also in attendance.
“The purpose of this meeting is to discuss issues with stakeholders, particularly those in West Kingston, and to garner updates that will inform how we proceed in implementing real and systematic activities to address crime,” Dr Chang said.
The minister said an all-of-government approach is needed, which requires greater emphasis on housing, economic development, healthcare, education and more technical training opportunities, which will inevitably contribute to a reduction in major crimes.
“Disrupting gangs in all of these communities will require all agents present to transform livelihoods by addressing issues relating to poor health services, overcrowding, unemployment and illiteracy,” he said.
“The security plan will not work unless other sectors take on a more targeted and collaborative approach in addressing the issues that fuel crime,” he added.
According to Dr Chang, while a state of public emergency could cut the existing crime rate by almost 50 per cent, more social intervention related activities are needed.
“We have and will continue to equip the security forces with the necessary tools needed to maintain safety and order in our communities. The operations of the agencies of government are designed in such a way to build communities, improve social services and bolster sustainable changes,” he said.