While Jamaica saw a 44 percent reduction in the rate of murder and other violent crimes in 2014, the country still suffers from a high per capita rate of violent crime. Jamaica remains the Caribbean’s largest source of marijuana for the United States as well as a transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America. Additionally, legitimate political, economic, and social institutions are becoming increasingly influenced by organized crime structures. There is a low level of public trust in the Jamaican Constabulary Force because of consistently high numbers of civilian deaths resulting from police actions and from endemic police corruption. Lottery scams originating in Jamaica are estimated to have stolen almost $300 million from U.S. citizens since 2012.
As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in Jamaica focus on law enforcement professionalization, including the provision of non-lethal force equipment and training, institutionalization of community based policing, and support for the Jamaican Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). The program also focuses on improving Jamaica’s ability to investigate and prosecute illegal activities (extortion, drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and large-scale fraud, especially lottery scams) and to seize and forfeit the criminally-acquired assets that result. Funding includes training and commodity assistance for the Financial Investigations Division (FID) of the Ministry of Finance, the JCF Major Organized Crime and Anti-corruption Task Force (MOCA), Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), and the JCF Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID), which includes the Cyber-Crime Investigation Unit (CCIU). The INL program seeks to diminish the underlying conditions that organized criminal organizations exploit to perpetrate such crimes as preying on American tourists.
A nexus exists between corruption and weak government institutions, and INL is supporting Government of Jamaica efforts to strengthen weak institutions and regain legitimacy among Jamaican citizens. INL’s law enforcement professionalization efforts include providing Jamaica’s 6,000 front line police officers with non-lethal force equipment and training, the institution of community based policing, and support for the Jamaican JCF-ACB. Since the ACB’s inception in 2008 (with joint support from the U.S., the U.K, and Canada), more than 450 (4%) of the JCF’s 11,200 person force have been dismissed for unethical or corrupt behavior.
In Jamaica, organized crime activities include extortion, drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and large-scale fraud. INL, through CBSI, is supporting Jamaica’s fight against organized crime, including anti-lotto scam efforts, by improving Jamaica’s ability to investigate and prosecute such illegal activities, and to seize and forfeit the criminally-acquired assets that result. INL is funding training and commodity assistance for the FID of the Ministry of Finance, the JCF-MOCA, INDECOM, and the JCF-OCID, CCIU.