CSJP Helps to Reduce Crime – Security Minister

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National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, speaking at a recent meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at which he gave details of the success of the programme.

(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)

National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, says the work  of  the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) has been assisting to reduce crime and violence and has encouraged behavioral change in targeted communities across the island.

Speaking in Montego Bay recently, the Minister said the programme, which is now entering its third phase, has had a positive impact across the island.

He emphasized that there is always room for improvement, but the programme has, by and large, been very successful. “There is measurable improvement, better than the average community where you don’t have it (the CSJP Programme),” Mr. Bunting said.

For Phase Three of the programme, the Minister said major emphasis is being placed on “at risk” children, and efforts are also being made to identify and work with those who are showing academic promise, to encourage them to stay on that path, through the provision of scholarships and other support.

The Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently signed a US$55 million agreement to finance the third phase of the CSJP.

The CSJP-3 will promote a culture change that facilitates community governance and a more peaceful co-existence, through activities that build knowledge and opportunities. Residents of targeted communities will be exposed to tools necessary to challenge and change attitudes that promote or tolerate violence.

In addition, the programme will include rigorous monitoring and evaluation that will help to assess its impact on the communities.

The main objective of the CSJP is to contribute to the reduction in serious crimes and violence, initially in 28 high-crime urban communities in five parishes by financing strategic preventive interventions, in order to address individual, family and community risk factors which have been identified.

The programme has been expanded to cover 50 at risk communities which has resulted in a 17 per cent reduction in all serious and violent crimes.

The first phase of the CSJP was launched in Jamaica on September 21, 2001 with a budget of US$20-million, of which US$16 million was provided by the IDB, while the Government contributed US$4 million.