Majority willing to help police identify criminals

Friday, February 15, 2019

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More than half of Jamaicans surveyed in a Jamaica Observer-commissioned Bill Johnson Poll say that if they witnessed a serious crime they would be willing to help the police identify the perpetrators.

At the same time, of those who said they would not help, the majority cited fear for their life, while the others gave a range of reasons, including that they do not trust the police.

The poll, which was conducted islandwide between January 21 and 24, 2019 sought the views of 1,008 Jamaicans on a number of issues relating to crime and security.

The police often appeal to the public for information that can help in their investigation of crime. Despite cultural resistance to sharing information with the authorities, Crime Stop, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica programme that provides rewards to callers who give information which aids in the State's fight against criminal activity, reported that it paid out just over $8 million last year.

Crime Stop also reported that it received 1,144 tips last year, compared to 912 in 2017, an increase of 27 per cent.

When the pollsters asked: “If you happened to witness a serious crime being committed, would you be willing to help the police identify the person or persons who committed the crime by reporting it to the police or Crime Stop, or would you not want to help the police?” 54 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to help; 32 per cent said they would not, while 14 per cent responded “don't know”.

The pollsters also reported that 10 per cent of respondents admitted that they or someone in their immediate household had been the victim of a serious crime in the last year.

Of that number, 34 individuals said the crime was murder, 24 cited robbery, while 15 said shooting.

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