Crime in Jamaica
Some areas of Jamaica, particularly cities such as Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town, experience high levels of crime and violence. Jamaica has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for many years, according to United Nations estimates. Former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson described the situation as "a national challenge of unprecedented proportions".
When Jamaica gained independence in 1962, the murder rate was 3.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the lowest in the world. In 2005, Jamaica had 1,674 murders for a murder rate of 58 per 100,000 people. That year, Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. In November 2008, the Jamaican Parliament voted to retain the death penalty, which is performed by hanging.
There were 1,682 reported murders in 2009 and 1,428 in 2010. Since 2011 the murder rate has continued to fall following the downward trend started in 2010, with increases in police patrols, curfews, and more effective anti-gang activities. In 2012, the Ministry of National Security reported a 30 percent decrease in murders. Many of the murders in Jamaica are connected to organized crime in the country's urban centers, and most of this organized crime involves the illegal drug trade.
Violence against homosexuals
here has been a vast reduction in violence against LGBT individuals in Jamaica. The U.S. Department of State reported that brutality with homosexuals, mainly by private citizens, was widespread in 2008. Homosexuality per se is not illegal in Jamaica; however the Offenses Against the Person Act criminalizes buggery (anal sex) as well as "acts of gross indecency" between men. Many Jamaicans are hostile toward LGBT and intersex people, and several mob attacks against gay people have been reported. International human rights groups, the local LGBT rights organization, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) and many Jamaicans have called on the government to take measures to protect LGBT people, including repealing the buggery law.
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