Jamaica society’s activities to defend itself against the

Jamaica Jamaica, since 1977, has become the Caribbean nation with the highest homicide rate in its citizenry and continues to hold this position (Harriott, 2007). In the year 2013, Jamaica ranked in the top five for highest homicide rate in the world. In the year 2015, Jamaica had about 45 slayings per 100,000. Comparing the crime rate by years, 2013- 2017, 2017 has the highest murder and shooting rate. It has increased 20% with 639 people being killed up to June 10, 2017, and it is still rising (Jamaica-Crime-Nearly, 2017). These details show that, for years, crime and violence has plagued Jamaica, but why do these criminal behaviors occur? The purpose of this writing is to unravel, and ascertain a comprehensive understanding by probing failing crime justice system, lack of citizens’ participation, comparison trap, inequality, poor parenting, low educational attainment, and drugs, as contributors of crime and violence. A criminal justice system is the total of society’s activities to defend itself against the action it defines as criminal; it has 3 major components: police, court, and corrections (Adler, Mueller & Laufer, 2006). A major issue with the Jamaica Constabulary Force is police corruption. The Independent Commission of Investigations (2016), in Jamaica, received a total of 791 complaints within a given period. The top seven (5) police corruption activities include: assault, discharge of firearm, fatalities –shooting, shooting injury, and unprofessional conduct. Additionally, Jamaica’s Annual Report for the year 2015/2016 gives an account of over 44 persons who were extrajudicial executed. Is not Jamaica’s criminal justice system a due process model? Henceforth, why would senior police officers send out squads to kill citizens? An issue affecting Jamaica’s court system is the major backlogs in the judiciary which leads to continued delays and hampered access to justice. There has been a report of 400,000 cases of backlog in Jamaica’s court system (Justice Ministry Collating Cases before the Courts, 2016). This figure is a national disgrace accounting for thousands of people awaiting justice. Within the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), fifty-seven percent (57%) of Jamaican prisoners are returnees (Government Improving Prison Conditions, says Montague, 2017). This detail illustrates that the DCS, in Jamaica, fails to rehabilitate person from committing similar or other offenses in the future. To further expand on the fact that the criminal justice system is contributing to the escalation of crime in Jamaica, the authors believe that criminals in Jamaica know the justice system has failed to contribute to the reduction of crime. They know the chance of being caught by the law enforcer is minimally and court cases tend to languish in the court system for months or years; therefore, they are driven to commit the criminal act. Even though criminal justice failing citizens contributes to crime and violence, lack of participation from Jamaica citizens, is a second factor that plays a vital role. Per a personal interview with Paul Belvelt, who is the head of Down Town Kingston Police Station, he mentioned that citizens covering or remaining silent about criminal activities help to increase the operational challenges faced by police officers. People do not feel like they can trust the police to protect them, and the police did not feel that they could depend on members of the community to give them the information they needed on criminals in the area. Not only that, but citizens do play a role to corrupt law enforcement (Cespedes, 2017). How can we Jamaicans except the crime rate to decease when there is a prevalence of hating the police and law? Or lack of communication between citizens and law enforcer? Or citizens blaming police? Or police blaming the citizens? Thirdly, factors are not limited to the failing criminal justice system and lack of citizen’s participation, comparison trap also contributes to crime and violence in Jamaica. It is normal for humans to compare their self with each other. The social comparison theory states to determine our own social and personal worth it is based on how we stack up against others by evaluating across a variety of domains such as attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success Branscombe & Baron (2017). When we compare ourselves we can learn more about ourselves and improve. However, sometimes, people compare him or herself to others to the point he or she experiences dissatisfaction. A person experiences this when their primary approach to self-appraisal is based on other performances rather than their own potential, values, standard, and goal. The danger of this is that a person’s comparison trap stems from upward comparison which is described as the comparison of self to another who does better than or is superior to us; it threatens self-image Branscombe & Baron (2017). This can lead to ostentatious lifestyles that have bred covetousness, envy, jealousy and greed (Anne Peterson,2017). The Bible warns us against these feeling in scriptures such as Exodus 20:17 and Mark 7:22. Also, comparison trap can stem from downward comparison which is the comparison of self to another who does less than or is inferior to us (Branscombe & Baron 2017). Downward comparison can improve self-image; however, it can lead to ostentatious lifestyles that have bred pride (Anne Peterson,2017). The bible warns us against pride in Proverbs 8:13. According to an article which is entitled, Pride is the Main Cause of Crime (2009), because of pride, young brothers and sisters are swelling above their stature forcing them into armed robbery, killing innocent persons, maiming their colleague and destroying properties that have taken the country years and resources to build. Additionally, because of social media and television, it is more predominant for a person to have negative feelings which stem from comparing their self to others (Roberts & Rose, 2014). The author believes this is sad. We are so busy comparing and fighting against each other that we are blind to the fact that it is destroying our country Jamaica. Fourthly, inequality, alongside the factors above, contributes equally to crime and violence in Jamaica. Inequality is the existence of unequal opportunities and rewards for different social positions or statuses within a group or society. Scientific research concluded there is relationship between crime and inequality, and that places with pronounced income inequality are more likely to have high rates of violent crimes (Fajnzylber, Lederman, Loyayza 2002). Becker (1968) suggests, “Consequently, as the income distribution gets more unequal, the gap between the benefits and costs of crime widens; thus, the incentive for crime becomes higher. Also, the greater the inequality, the greater the inducement for low status individuals to commit crimes (Kelly,2000). These findings are evidence to the argument that income inequality is a factor in causing crime and violence. Jamaica has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world (Peter Espuet: Is Bobby Montague Hercules, 2017). The author believes when poor Jamaicans perceive inequality, they feel less of a commitment to social norms, and in turn, come to view crime as more acceptable. The result of inequality among poor people is it create incentives to make money through gang involvement, crime, drugs, scamming, or violence. In Jamaica, police data indicates that of just over the 1,350 murders recorded last year, 65 percent were linked to gang activities (Gangland- More than 250 Criminal Gangs Hurting Jamaica; Justice Minister Chides Cops over Failure to Nabs More Gangster, 2017). Fifthly, broken family is another factor that is contributing to crime and violence in Jamaica. In Jamaica, majority of youths especially boys, do not have a strong bond with their father. An article which is entitled Jamaica’s Crime Stats among Highest Worldwide, Despite Reduction (2016), in the Jamaica, fatherless children, is a reason for the crime epidemic. The article further mentioned that boys who are fatherless are eleven (11) times more likely to display violent behavior, nine (9) times more likely to run away from home and become victims or perpetrators of crime, twice as likely to drop out of school, nine times more likely to become gang members, and six times more likely to end up in prison. As it relates to fatherless girls, they are more than twice as likely to experience teenage pregnancies and nine times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. According to Adam McIntyre (2015), the author of Understanding the Criminal Mind, expressed that children’s wayward drift into delinquency and criminal behavior is often directly linked to our own shortcomings and breach of trust as caregivers. Many of our Jamaican youths are in prison because of parents’ abandonment. These parents may not be considered criminals, but their irresponsible action is a heinous offence with long-term and often irreversibly deleterious effect on the youth and the community. How can we except Jamaica’s crime rate to reduce when there are broken families and poor parenting? It seems much attention should be paid towards raising better parents rather than a child. Sixthly, poor education is another factor that is contributing to crime and violence in Jamaica. In a research conducted by the Research, Planning and Legal Services Branch (RPLSB) on “Education and Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates in Jamaica”, the findings revealed “that more than 74 % of the inmates either dropped out of or graduated without achieving any subjects.” Owing to these uncovering, the researcher deduced that for a fact there is a direct correlation between low education, and crime and violence. The author believes that education is vital to obtaining a better future, a job, or even experiencing upward social mobility. These disadvantaged individuals turned to crime. Jamaica pronounce talented, smart and creative individuals; however, they use it for the wrong reasons. Can you imagine how better Jamaica would be if that same effort was put towards something constructive? Seventhly, drug trafficking another factor that is contributing to crime and violence. According to a documentary which is entitled Drugcity Report Kingston (2013), it has revealed that the correlation between drugs and the affects it has on crime and violence. Devlin, a street don, mentioned using the wrong things for good in the community. It might help; however, it is a short-term benefit not a long-term. The author believes it does more bad for the community than good. These includes, but not limited to, a negative impact on health, public safety, increase crime, and loss in productivity. A major consequence is, it increases use of a guns. As shown in the documentary, a gun is the first thing many youths think of acquiring, and certainly the first thing they run for in a quarrel. Additionally, alcohol plays a particularly strong role in the relationship to crime and other social problems. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes today (Alcohol, drug, crime, 2015). Yet still, why is alcohol the most used substance (Atkinsin, 2017) and easily accepted? In conclusion, the purpose of this writing is to unravel, and ascertain a comprehensive understanding by probing failing criminal justice system, lack of citizens’ participants, comparison trap, inequality, poor parenting, low educational attainment, and drugs as contributors of crime and violence. The authors believe strategies that can be implemented are parents involvement, collaboration with citizens and law enforcers, uses of effective-helping professionals such as social workers, counselors and psychologists, and prayer. Having determined the factors or causes of the ongoing plague, the author is willing to be proactive in working with her fellow Jamaicans to reduce crime and violence on the isl