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Concept Note - CARICOM Forum on Youth Crime and Violence Youth Crime and Violence - Breaking the Cycle:  Exploring New Platforms for Transformation

Posted in: Documents | 17 November 2015

During the last two (2) decades, Caribbean nations have experienced higher levels of crime and violence associated in the main, with the illicit drug trade, transnational organised crime and gender issues.  Increasingly, concerns have been raised with respect to corruption, the trafficking in illegal arms, human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children, cyber crime and money laundering.  International terrorism has also emerged as a major security threat and has been posited as a catalyst for other criminal activities, specifically trafficking in narcotics and firearms.  These new threats have been aggravated by other social aspects of trans-border crime such as the emergence of violent posses and gangs and deportation, from the metropoles, of criminals who might have no psychological or familiar links with or in the countries to which they have been repatriated.  These and other recent trends have been highlighted in several reports, produced over the past five (5) years, which underline the fact that Crime and Violence must be treated as a development issue.  

Highlighted below are some instructive findings from major reports which examine youth crime and violence in the Region.

“Crime, Violence and Development: Trends, Costs and Policy Options in the Caribbean” (World Bank –UNODC, 2007) 

The “Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs and Policy Options in the Caribbean” UNODC-World Bank Report highlights the high incidence of crime and violence in the Region and identifies illicit drugs and narcotics trafficking as the main underlying cause, forecasting the implications for development.  Further, the Report draws attention to the tendency of States to rely overly on the criminal justice approach to crime reduction, while neglecting other complementary and more effective preventative approaches in reducing certain types of crime and violence. It examines and provides insights on the central role the Governments of Member States of the Caribbean Community must play in the prevention and reduction of crime and violence.  Specifically, the Report recommends that in addressing issues of youth violence, ‘policy makers in the short run should borrow from the toolkit of evidence-based programs from other regions, such as early childhood development and mentoring programs, interventions to increase retention of high-risk youth in secondary schools, and opening schools after-hours and on weekends to offer youth attractive activities to occupy their free time’.