Dismantling gangs vital to fighting crime - Montague
National Security Minister Robert Montague says the dismantling of criminal gangs and degrading their capacity is an important element in the Government's fight against crime.
Montague, who was addressing the opening of the Regional Security Conference on Tuesday, at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, said it is estimated that 70 per cent of murders in Jamaica are gang-related.
He noted that the security forces have been given added ammunition in the fight to disrupt gangs, through the enactment of stronger legislation targeting these criminal groups and attacking their financial base.
He said the Government will be targeting gangs and the conditions that give rise to them under the broader national strategy to reduce crime and build a safer Jamaica.
The strategy is anchored in five pillars effective policing, crime prevention through social development, situational prevention, sure and swift justice process, and reducing reoffending.
Montague noted that effective policing, involving a community-based approach, will have the most immediate and obvious impact on crime.
"It requires and relies on the building of partnerships between the police and the citizens that they serve. This is coupled with the traditional law-enforcement strategies that are necessary to deal forcefully with the threat posed by criminal gangs," he said.
He noted that the Government is committed to building and maintaining a police force that is professional, disciplined, well trained, and properly resourced.
Montague noted that crime prevention through social development is an approach that involves the Government, church, civil society, and other partners."It seeks to tackle some of the social factors that have been among the root causes of the growth in crime, such as poor housing, inadequate family income, poor parent-child relations, poor educational outcomes, and peer associations that encourage delinquency," he said.