389 criminal gangs in Jamaica, 250 active – Security Minister

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389 criminal gangs in Jamaica, 250 active – Security Minister

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang says that up to the end of 2019, there were 389 gangs in Jamaica.

Dr Chang was tabling the report of the Joint Select Committee of the Lower House on the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act in Parliament today.

“Based on the latest assessment carried out by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), at the end of 2019, there were 389 criminal gangs operating in Jamaica."

This represents an increase of eight gangs when compared to the 381 in 2018.

“Of the 389 criminal gangs, 250 or 64 per cent were deemed to be active, while the remaining 139 or 36 per cent , were classified as dormant.

“Three hundred and twenty-three or 83 per cent of the total criminal gangs in operation were classified as “first generation” gangs - by virtue of their loose and unsophisticated leadership.These gangs are also identified by the fact that their main focus was on turf protection and control for financial gains.

The remaining 66 gangs or 17 per cent, were classified as “second generation” gangs. These gangs exhibited more centralized leadership and focused primarily on organized crime. According to the NIB, there were no “third generation” gangs in operation in Jamaica. These are gangs with broad reach, often across international borders,” the security minister said in his report.

Dr Chang then identified the area where these gangs operated in.

“Consistent with historical trends, the Corporate Area continues to account for the largest proportion of gangs. Police Area 4, which comprises the Kingston Western, Kingston Central, Kingston Eastern, St Andrew Central and St Andrew South Police Divisions accounted 249 or 64 per cent, of the total number of known gangs island-wide.

“Of note, at the Divisional level, 78 of the gangs identified across the island, or 20.1 per cent, were resident within the St Andrew South Police Division.This was followed by the Kingston Central, and Kingston Western Police Divisions with 13.1 per cent and 12.3 per cent, respectively.

“Area 5, which has St Catherine North, St Catherine South, St Andrew North, and St Thomas accounts for the second highest number of gangs in the country, with 57 gangs or 14.7 per cent. They were followed by Area 1 (St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, and Trelawny) with 51 gangs or 13.1 per cent.

“In many communities across the island, gang members enjoy strong community support which makes it difficult to isolate them. Even so, over the last three years, there has been a significant increase in the number of gang members identified, apprehended and prosecuted,” Dr Chang said.

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