Gangs, organized crime, and violence, and the nexus between them, are Jamaica’s biggest citizen security challenge. With the second highest murder rate in the Latin America and Caribbean region in 2019, Jamaica’s extreme violence is often attributed to gangs. Between 2008 and 2018, gang-related violence was responsible for 56 percent of murders in Jamaica, with a high of 78 percent in 2013. Jamaica is a violent country in other ways, with extraordinarily high rates of domestic violence, including intimate partner (IPV) and gender-based violence (GBV). Jamaica’s violence problem is so pernicious that the country has come to be described by academics and policy makers as having a “culture of violence.”
In an effort to bring focused attention to Jamaica’s gang problem, with the objective of advancing knowledge towards more effective policies and programmes for gang prevention and control, this report synthesizes what is known about:
1. The current scenario regarding gangs, violence, and organized crime in its various iterations, in Jamaica, with an emphasis on the post-2010 situation;
2. The difficulties Jamaica has had inresolving the gang problem;
3. The current strategies being employed to deal with the gang problem; and
4. The success or failure of these strategies.