Despite a 13 per cent reduction in murders so far this year, a significant number of Jamaicans believe that the country’s biggest challenge at present is crime and violence, the latest People’s National Party (PNP)-commissioned Don Anderson Poll has cited.
According to the data, which was gathered between June 8 and June 14, of the 1,012 people who were interviewed nationally, 45 per cent pointed to crime and violence as the main thing wrong with the country at present.
PNP General Secretary, Dr Dayton Campbell, outlined the poll findings at a party press conference on Tuesday.
In most opinion polls conducted locally over recent years, crime and violence has topped the list of major concerns among Jamaicans.
Additionally, each year, once murders escalate, there have been the usual frantic calls for the Government to address the issue with tough measures, and the Administration has responded with the imposition of states of emergency (SOEs).
So far this year, however, major crimes, especially murders, are down significantly.
The latest crime statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) indicated that 628 murders have been committed in Jamaica up to June 24 this year.
This is a 13.02 per cent decrease when compared to the 722 murders that were committed during the similar period last year.
Shootings are also down by 12.7 per cent, rape by 27.8 per cent, robbery by 24.2 per cent, and break-ins have also decreased by 11.6 per cent.
Overall, a total of 2,101 major crimes were recorded up to June 24, as against 2,507 that were recorded over the same period last year, representing a 16.2 per cent decrease.
In addition to crime and violence, the pollsters found that 16 per cent of respondents flagged the high cost of living as being among the top five biggest challenges being faced by those who were polled, while unemployment followed with 16 per cent.
The hot-button topic of corruption was only seen as a challenge for six per cent of the 1,012 persons who were surveyed.
Still, Campbell said the finding relative to corruption is “important”, as “this is an issue that is causing a lot of public debate.
“It is one around which the leader of the Opposition and members of the Shadow Cabinet have signed the Integrity Commission (IC) Code of Conduct. We’ve yet to see any member of the Government signing (the code of conduct),” he said.
Rounding out the top five biggest challenges facing Jamaicans, based on the poll findings, was unemployment among the youth. Just three per cent of those polls flagged that issue as a difficulty for them in the country at present.
The national unemployment rate for July 2022 was 6.6 per cent, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), one of the lowest in the country’s history.