Jamaica receives IDB loan to fight youth crime and violence

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WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Thursday June 26, 2014, CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$20 million loan for Jamaica to strengthen community actions that seek to reduce crime and violence, especially among at-risk youths.

In spite of advances in prevention efforts Jamaica continues to suffer from high crime and violence, the Washington-based financial institution stated.

The IDB noted that the homicide rate remains among the highest in the hemisphere and one in three Jamaicans have lost a family member or friend to crime.

The programme, called Citizen Security and Justice Program III, focuses mainly on individual and community risk factors in urban, marginalized areas, addressing problems such as the use and tolerance of violence as a way to exert control and resolve disputes, the lack of economic opportunities, especially for youth, and the lack of channels for alternative dispute resolution.

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“The idea is to promote a culture change that facilitates a more peaceful co-existence and community governance, through interventions that provide knowledge and opportunities,” the IDB stated on Wednesday.

Another component aims to improve access to community-based justice services, complementary to the formal court system, and to strengthen the capacity of Jamaica’s Ministry of Justice to manage and monitor these services.

The programme which will include rigorous monitoring and evaluations, contains specific targets to lower murder rates in target communities and improve security perceptions.