- Violence Prevention Alliance
St. Catherine Reports Reduction in Violent Incidents
The parish of St. Catherine is showing a 20 per cent decline in the number of reported violent related incidents over the last five years.
The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), a non-governmental organization made the
disclosure of the findings of its research at a Peace Building Action Workshop held at the Arian’s Restaurant in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine in January.The successes were particularly seen in the communities of DeLa Vega City; Ellerslie Gardens and Tawes Meadows over the period 2012 to 2017.“In these targeted communities we have seen up to 50 per cent reduction in violent related incidents but we can go higher overtime,” the VPA Team said,pointing out that for the entire parish the reduction was 20 percent. “What we are trying to show with this workshop is the potential for effective reduction of violence, we can reduce those cases by 80 per cent. But we can’t do that for cancer,obesity and diabetes in the short term,” the VPA Team noted.
The reduction can be credited to intervention programmes such as the Peace Management Initiatives; the violence interrupters who work in the communities on the corner, with at risk youths and to interrupt violence that have the potential of escalating.“They work closely with the Citizens, Security and Justice Programme, which has a gender focus and is trying to stabilize the high risks youths in the communities. We also have HEART/NTA recruiting youths and getting them involved in effective training programmes as well as the Social Development Commission in entrepreneurial and sporting programmes,” the Team informed.
In addition, it was noted by the Team that the development of Benevolent Societies in these communities was one of the key strengths in communities being able to take more ownership; identifying what the problems were and to be able to work more effectively in improving the communities.
The workshop also saw members of the benevolent societies sharing what worked and did
not work in peace building in their communities. Keith Webley, former president of the Tawes Meadows Citizens Associaiton and former public relations officer of the Tawes Meadows Community Development Committee and Benevolent Society said a combination of intervention programmes from government agencies such as Jamaica Social Investment Fund; the Citizens Security & Justice Programme; the Social Development Commission; Food for the Poor; the churches and the Ministry of Health assisted in peacebuilding in his community.
“They came in and they have workshops in Tawes Meadows and Ellerslie Meadows, this
helped to sustain peace and occupy the unattached youths who were hanging out on the
corner,” he informed.This was the second PeaceBuilding Action Workshop that
was being held by the VPA. The first was held in Clarendon. The objectives of the workshops are to provide data for the parish on major crimes in 2017 and trend data from 2012 to 2017; 2017 hospital data on the impact of violence, including violence against women and children.
shared by citizens.
Article was originally published in Peace Guardian Issue 1 Volume 1 : January - March 2018 by the Violence Prevention Alliance.