The Jamaica Constabulary Force has been given a failing grade by most Jamaicans for its efforts to contain crime.
More than 60 per cent of respondents to the latest RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll said the police force has not been effective in leading the fight against crime.
The poll was conducted among 1,038 people across Jamaica between February 8 and February 18.
Up to February 22, some 198 Jamaicans had been murdered since the start of the year.
This represented a 10 per cent increase over the 180 cases of murder during the period in 2019.
The murder figure has increased despite states of emergency in seven parishes.
Pollster Don Anderson said 61 per cent of those interviewed were not impressed with the work of the police compared to 30 per cent who said they were doing a good job.
He said this is consistent with other surveys, including the last poll in 2019.
Mr. Anderson said the slight improvements in the crime figures have done nothing to change perception.
Violent crimes are down slightly, with a more than 34 per cent decrease in rapes, and a 5.8 per cent decrease in shootings.
However, Mr. Anderson said crime remains a major worry for Jamaicans and this is impacting how the effectiveness of the police is being viewed.
“Despite the statistics, there are people who are basically anecdotally believing that crime is on the increase, even though quite a bit of the statistics show that crime is actually trending down, but down from a high number and therefore it is not a comfort to anybody and they kind of look at the police as not being very effective in fighting this scourge of criminality,” he explained.
Mr. Anderson pointed out that an overwhelming number of Jamaicans want soldiers to be more involved in crime fighting.
Some 87 per cent of respondents to the RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll said they would want members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) more involved in regular crime fighting, while 11 per cent disagreed.
The remaining two per cent was equally split between those who didn’t know or weren’t sure.
Mr. Anderson said the finding is consistent with previous polls, and reveals there is greater confidence in the JDF than the police force.
“Anecdotally…people are saying they are removed from the day to day involvement with criminals by virtue of being where they are at Up Park Camp… (and that) because they don’t have to interface and interrelate with the public on a daily basis to the extent that the police does, that because of the distance between them, they are likely to be professional and more effective,” he revealed.
Support for social intervention programmes
Jamaicans have sent a clear signal they believe social intervention programmes work in reducing crime and they do not want to see a funding cut.
Mr. Anderson said 74 per cent of persons polled said social intervention is an effective tool in fighting crime and helping deprived communities.
Fourteen per cent said no, while 12 per cent were either unsure or did not know.
Consistent with the results, Mr. Anderson said 71 per cent wanted to see funding for these programmes continued, while only 18 per cent wanted it reduced.