Murder rates in Jamaica 1970 – 2011

There has been much commentary on my recent post regarding “special police” squad many of whom I have described as death squads, carrying out the mandate of the various governments in power. One blogger commented that the reason the PNP is featured prominently is due to the fact  they were in power for longer. Another blogger indicated that maybe its because the PNP governments have  been more serious about crime fighting that the JLP, why they have formed more “special” squads.

I have since decided to publish another  post showing the number of Jamaicans that have been murdered during the last 42 years. Take a look at the information and form your own opinion, on the effectiveness of these special squads and whether or not they have made an impact on murders.

2007 -2011

Yr # of Murders
1970 152
1971 145
1972 170
1973 227
1974 195
1975 266
1976 367
1977 409
1978 381
1979 351
1980 899
1981 490
1982 405
1983 424
1984 484
1985 Unavailable
1986 449
1987 442
1988 414
1989 439
1990 543
1991 561
1992 629
1994 690
1995 780
1996 Unavailable
1997 Unavailable
1998 953
1999 849
2000 887
2001 Unavailable
2002 1045
2003 975
2004 1471
2005 1674
2006 1340
2007 1574
2008 1601
2009 1680
2010 1428
2011 1125
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8 Responses

  1. Good graph Jay! Could you supperimpose the data for the number of police killings on the same graph from 1970-2011?

    Jay, can you list three strategies that the police could implement in the shortterm, that could drastically curtain the number of murders? What do you think are the drivers behind the increasing murder rate over the years? What would be your forecast for the number of murders at the end of 2012? Why?

  2. Time will tell who is more serious on the issue of “Crime Fighting”…..have some patience Jay,………. The elections are over, this is no time for campaigning………

  3. I see science was not your strong suit.

    Your trend lines are poor around the region of 2007. How anyone can draw a downtrend for 2007-2011 is incredible. The downtrend ONLY starts in 2009/2010 when (surprise, surprise) the US intervenes by pressuring for the extradition of a don. From 2007-2009/2010 the trend is up (2007-2009/10 were a continuation of the previous trend) and terribly so.

    In fact without the Dudus Extradition Affair the murder rate for the first 5 months of 2010 would have seen 1,800 Jamaicans murdered in 2010 as over 750 Jamaicans had been murdered by then. That’s right. 1,800. Keep that in mind.

    Also it seems odd that you don’t include information such as:

    – which party had the majority for local government parish councils (and could thus supply gangs with contracts as apparently happened with KSAC but for which data is hard to ascertain because our esteemed council shot down a proposal in 2005 to have KSAC contracts be published on their website)

    – The dates of various Tivoli raids (here’s a hint – the year after just about EVERY Tivoli raid (except 2008) there was a decrease in murders; 1997 – 1031 murders, 1998 – 953 murders; 2001 – 1,139 murders, 2002 – 1,045 murders; 2005 – 1,674 murders, 2006 – 1,340 murders; 2010 – 1,482 murders, 2011 – 1,125 murders). Only in 2008 did we see an increase in murders the year after a Tivoli raid going from 1,601 murders to 1,680 murders in 2009.

    – the dates of elections (the normal pattern is for increased murders in the year of elections, the only exception being 2002 when there was a decrease in murders from the year before, which just happened to be the year of the largest Tivoli raid before 2010).

    – other information which can easily explain gang activity and the correlated murders in a given year. For example:

    1984 saw Jim Brown supposedly flee Jamaica for a time to avoid an arrest warrent following the ‘Rema Killings’ (coincidentally or not so coincidentally) murders leveled off in the late 1980s

    1987 saw Jim Brown flee the USA and was arrested in Jamaica but acquitted after a witness gives conflicting statements

    1988 saw Jim Brown indicted and an extradition request sent

    1990 saw Jim Brown in prison and saw Mark Anthony “Jah T” Coke, Leighton “Livity” Coke and Christopher “Dudus” Coke actively take over the running of the shower posse (coincidentally we see murders rise when the posse is being partly run by Livity who is reputed to be wild). Desmond McKenzie becomes councillor for Tivoli Gardens in the same year

    1992 saw Jah T shot dead off his motorcycle sparking a vicious gang war in Kingston and leaving Dudus and reputed wild man Livity in charge. Murders which had previously averaged between 400-550 over nearly the past decade go above 600 and never go back below that number again.

    1998 saw Zeeks is arrested but released without charge after 2 days of riots and the PNP wins local government elections (this year incidentally saw murders drop to 953 from 1,031 the previous year following a Tivoli raid and murders remained below 900 for two years until the next election in 2001 when they traditionally spiked again)

    2001 saw dons William “Willie Haggart” Moore and Andrew “Phang” Stephens (don of Grants Pen in Delroy Chuck’s North East St. Andrew constituency) killed by police (oddly enough Grants Pen has been a MUCH safer place since apparently)

    2002 saw Oliver “Bubba” Smith returns to Jamaica and he builds the “One Order” gang

    2003 saw the JLP win local government elections. KSAC begins giving contracts (REAL contracts, not some protection money for “security” to build a hospital) to Dudus’ company Incomparable Enterprises. Murders in the following years NEVER dip below 1,000 a year whereas prior murders only occasionally spiked to 1,000+ a year and

    2004 saw Norris “Deedo” Nembhard and Leebert Ramcharan arrested, Oliver “Bubba” Smith killed, Operation Kingfish started and Donald “Zeeks” Phipps arrested and charged.

    2005 saw Bruce Golding becomes JLP leader, Donald “Zeeks” Phipps arrested again and Donovan “Bulbie” Bennett killed (yep the poor innocent fellow offed by those nefarious death squads)

    2006 saw Zeeks sentenced

    2007 saw Leebert Ramcharan extradited (he was sentenced in 2008)

    2009 saw “Deedo” plead guilty and the American extradition request for Dudus

    2010 saw the largest Tivoli raid and murders plummet. Murders however were on course to be about 1,080 by the end of 2011 but were increasing again before the end of 2011 to reach 1,125.

    What might also be instructive is if you publicize the years of existence of the various squads. Sure they may have started in say 1995 (Operation Crest for instance), but how long did they last? If a squad only lasts a few months it would be extremely naive to assume that any such squad is going to have a major impact considering that the usual police work involves building a case so that criminals can actually be put in prison and not just detained for a few hours before being released onto the streets again.

    Also, how effective can any police squad be when they have no access to criminal safe-havens? I’ve heard tales of criminals fleeing the countryside to take refuge as it were in various garrisons. How can you bring murderers to justice if you are physically unable to enter the area where they are hiding out? Notice how once the security forces had complete and unimpeded access to Tivoli as a result of their 2010 counterattack that we have had a drastic fall in murders?

    I have little doubt that if Adams had been able to do what he seems to have wanted to do in 2001 (that is go into Tivoli and completely dismantle the thugs’ paradise in there) we would have seen murders drop dramatically. But of course he came under a LOT of heat by the JLP (no surprise considering it was their garrison), human rights organizations (who seem at times to care more about the rights of murderers than victims) and the business community (which was pressuring the government over lost business as a result of the lockdown due to the violence).

    • Jon wrote ” I see science was not your strong suit.
      Your trend lines are poor around the region of 2007. How anyone can draw a downtrend for 2007-2011 is incredible. The downtrend ONLY starts in 2009/2010 when (surprise, surprise) the US intervenes by pressuring for the extradition of a don. From 2007-2009/2010 the trend is up (2007-2009/10 were a continuation of the previous trend) and terribly so.”

      Jon , Jon, Jon, you look but does not see.

      The trend lines have been for the specific period each administration has been in power.
      So lets go to 2007 we started at 1574, went up to 1680, then down to 1125 in 2011.

      Period 2007/8 average for the two years 1587
      Period 2008/2009 rolling ave 1640
      Period 2009/2010 rolling ave 1544
      Period 2010/2011 rolling ave 1276.

      So we started 1587 and ended at 1276 using averages for the years in question.

      So in essence for the period under review the rate did go up as is clearly shown in the graph, however given the huge fall 2009 -2011, the overall trend is down.

      See the graph I have added just for you :)
      Its called Jon’s graph.

    • Jon:

      I like the way the information was presented. I have one issue with year 2001;

      2001 saw dons William “Willie Haggart” Moore and Andrew “Phang” Stephens (don of Grants Pen in Delroy Chuck’s North East St. Andrew constituency) killed by police (oddly enough Grants Pen has been a MUCH safer place since apparently)

      Are you saying that both individuals were killed by the Police? I know the latter was officially killed by the Police, but not the former. Although witnesses stated that the men alighted from the car and shout Police before shooting and killing three of the four persons on the scene and wounding the 4th, it was never officially labeled as a Police killing.

      I have heard many theories as to who was responsible for the hit, from Columbia Traffickers who took revenge for him ripping off their stuff to Mark Wignall’s comments that he was killed by a Semi-Don. My theory is he was killed on orders from the only man he has ever called his “boss”, now living outside of Jamaica and the one who seem to have the balls and police association to carry out such a brazen daytime assassination.

  4. Also once again I would highly recommend that you and all of your readers look at this blog post:

    http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2011/08/murder-in-the-bahamas.html

    Here’s a relevant quote as to what we might expect:

    “We’ll start with the history. From the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, the murder rate (measured per 100,000 people) steadily spiraled upwards as the islands became a center for drug trafficking into South Florida. (The data come from U.N. crime surveys and the Royal Bahamian Police Force, abbreviated RBPF.) Unfortunately, uniform data is not available for 1987 through 1990 (the Bahamas did not take part in the U.N. survey for those years) but the time series agrees with the general impression of that era: once the United States took an active role in suppressing the drug traffic through the archipelago, violent crime fell rapidly. It did not, however, fall all the way back to pre-1970 levels: most accounts pin the continuing level of background violence on the establishment of youth gangs on the islands and the arrival of large numbers of Haitian immigrants.”

    We could change a few dates and names and cross out the Haitian immigrants as being a cause and we would have a very good summary of what seems to have happened and what is likely to happen in Jamaica:

    “We’ll start with the history. From the late 1960s through the mid-1980s, the murder rate (measured per 100,000 people) steadily spiraled upwards [(with a spike during the violent 1980 election)] as the [island] became a center for drug trafficking into [the United States]. Once the United States took an active role in suppressing the drug traffic throughout the [Caribbean] archipelago, violent crime [leveled off]. It did not, however, fall all the way back to pre-1970 levels: most accounts pin the continuing level of background violence on the establishment of youth gangs on the [island]. In the late 2000s the United States once again took an active role in suppressing the drug traffic, this time specifically on the island resulting in a rapid fall of violent crime. It did not fall back to the pre-1990 levels though.”

    The reduction of violent crime in the entire region requires more than special police squads and bluster. It requires a coordinated approach involving all the states in the region plus the United States with crime fighting (locking criminals away, possibly utilizing something like the “three strikes” laws in the USA where three consecutive convictions result in an automatic life sentence no matter what the crimes) and crime prevention strategies (social interventions to prevent persons from becoming murderers in the first place).

  5. Tracey Smith shares out the people’s stolen money with her friends.

    Delancey also told SIPT she received a $10,000 campaign donation from convicted fraudster David Smith, and a loan of $4,500 from his wife Tracey Smith.

    http://www.suntci.com/index.php?p=story&id=2408

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