Jamaica: The World’s 2nd Most Murderous Country


By Gavin Riley

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Ingarapé Institute in Brazil have both come to a startling conclusion – that in 2017, Jamaica was only ‘bested’ by El Salvador as the most murderous country in the world.

With 1,616 murders in 2017, Jamaica’s 57.7 murder rate per 100,000 citizens represented the second worst figures, behind Central American nation El Salvador – which registered 3,954 homicides, a 60.1 murder rate per 100,000 people.

In an article published in March, the WEF stated that while the five deadliest countries consistently emerge from the Latin America and Caribbean region, several territories managed to see a significant drop in homicides.

“The five countries reporting the highest homicide rates internationally in 2017 included El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, St Kitts and Venezuela. In 2016, 43 of the 50 most violent cities were situated in the region; when the data becomes available, it is likely that the rankings will tell a similar story in 2017. But even some of these countries and cities still managed to put a sizeable dent in their murder problem,” the WEF wrote.

Specifically, in Jamaica, the WEF added that the worrying homicidal trends in Jamaica were largely due to fierce gang rivalries, however growing incidents of petty crimes also contributed to the figures.

The WEF also currently ranks Jamaica as the 6th worst country, out of 137 countries, on Organised Crime, and the 8th worst on the Business Costs of crime and violence.

Kingston was ranked by Business Insider, in its March 2018 article, as the 16th most violent city in the world last year. According to Business Insider, Kingston, “with a population of 1,180,771 people and 705 homicides, had 59.71 homicides per 100,000 residents.”

In compiling statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Ingarapé Institute noted that St. James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Clarendon and St. Catherine accounted for more than 62 percent of recorded homicides, having murder rates of 147.7, 79.4, 75.8, 54.8 and 46.1 per 100,000 inhabitants respectively.

See below the worst 10 homicide rankings from the Ingarapé Institute:

  1. El Salvador (3,954 murders; 60.1 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  2. Jamaica (1,616 murders; 57.7 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  3. Venezuela (16,046 murders; 51.1 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  4. Honduras (3,866 murders; 43.6 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  5. Christopher (St. Kitts) & Nevis (23 murders; 42 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  6. Lesotho (897 murders; 41.2 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  7. Belize (142 murders; 37.2 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  8. Trinidad and Tobago (494 murders; 36 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  9. St Vincent and the Grenadines (39 murders; 35.3 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  10. South Africa (19,016 murders; 34.1 per 100,000 inhabitants)



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