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Violence in Jamaica: an analysis of homicides 1998–2002


The aim of the study was to create a profile of Jamaican homicide victims and to describe the circumstances, motives, and the weapons used in homicide incidents. The authors read the police narratives for all Jamaican homicides 1998–2002 and coded them using a predetermined set of variables. Analyses were conducted to describe victim characteristics, motive, and weapon use. The majority of homicide victims were male (over 89%), and 15–44 years old (80%). The rate of homicide for males age 15–44 years was 121 per 100 000 compared with a rate of 12 per 100 000 for females in the same age group. The main motives for homicide were disputes (29%) and reprisals (30%). Gunshot wounds were the cause of death in 66% of all homicides. Guns were used primarily in reprisals, robbery, and drug/gang related homicides; in half of all dispute related homicides the perpetrator used a knife. Homicides in Jamaica are not primarily gang or robbery related. Rather, they are mainly caused by arguments or reprisals. Homicide has become a common feature of dispute resolution in Jamaica.

  • violence
  • homicide
  • guns
  • Jamaica

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