The minister for Homeland Security in Jamaica “Dr. Horace Chang” said that: There are no signs of abatement in Jamaica gang with around 389 criminal organizations operating in the country at the end of 2019 and represents “a clear and present danger” to society.
Of the total number of gang groups, 250 were found active, said Chang. He presented the report on Tuesday to the Chamber of Deputies, presenting a report on the law on the joint electoral committee for the criminal justice (repression of criminal organizations), generally known as anti-gang legislation.
The committee reviewed and made recommendations to strengthen the legislation to ensure more trials. So far, only two convictions have been guaranteed by law for almost six years.
The minister said in his words that, as the government continues to take steps to create a safe society, “the widespread presence of gangs and criminal networks in our communities, as well as their criminal activities, constitutes a very clear and immediate threat.
He made it known to everyone that an assessment by the National Intelligence Bureau of the Conservative Police (NIB) in Jamaica shows that since 2019, 389 identifiable gangs have been operating in the country.
Of these, 323 or 83% are classified as first-generation gangs. This means that these are poorly organized groups that sometimes act as street gangs. He added by saying they often engage in criminal activities, such as extortion and drugs at the community level. He said that gangsters fiercely protect community members who see them playing the role of benefactors.
The remaining 66 gangs (17%) account for the second-generation gang that is involved in centralized and organized crime like drug smuggling, gun-running, etc. Their crime is transactional said Change.
He also told the house his consistency with the historical trend is what makes him have the right statistics. 249/ 64 percent of the gangs are at the Police Area 4 (The Kingston West, Kingston East, Kingston Central, St Andrew South, and St Andrew central police division)
St Andrew South accounts for 78 of the gangs
Kingston west and Kingston Central account for 12.3 percent and 13.1 percent of the gang, respectively.
The second-highest number of gangs in the country are from the Police Area 5. Police Area 5 covers St Catherine North and South, St Andrew North, and St Thomas.
51 (13.1%) gangs spreading across parishes of St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, and Trelawny.
In more than five years, there have only been two convictions, which is why there is an amendment. With the amendment, more gang members will be brought to justice.
There are about 14 major cases before the court for about 200 members of gangs that are likely to face convictions. Dr. Chang also added that some steps are in place to apprehend the so-called big wigs that run the game silently.
This is because there are many key leaders with connections with these gangs but maintain distance. If those individuals are not apprehended, crime will continue.