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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jamaica's Murder Crisis

By the end of May this year there had been 746 murders in Jamaica, an absolutely staggering figure for a country with only 2.7 million people. To put this into perspective, New York City, with a population that is roughly three times larger than Jamaica's, has only had 192 murders so far this year.

A STAGGERING 746 Jamaicans have been murdered since the start of the year, 193 more than for the corresponding period last year.

Police records show that the majority of the victims, 555, were killed by the gun. Sixty-nine women are numbered among the dead.

The month of May has seen the highest number of homicides with 167, making it one of the bloodiest in the nation's history. This is followed by March with 157, January with 145 and April 127. With 155 murders, October was the bloodiest month in 2004.

An average of seven Jamaicans were killed every day last week, bringing to 49, the total number of homicides for the week ending June 4. At least nine persons have been killed since the start of the week, with two double murders recorded since Sunday.

Jamaica is one of the most violent countries on earth. An important point on the cocaine shipping routes from South America to the United States, and with a decades-long tradition of political violence, in recent years it has become increasingly bloody.

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