Crime in the Caribbean: Policing for Profit


Does crime pay?

Repeating Islands

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The Economist recently published “Crime in the Caribbean: Policing for Profit” (by M.W.), an article on private security groups, whose guards may outnumber the police on several islands (by three to one in Jamaica, for example).

In May the Guardsman private-security group opened a new command centre in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. Snipping the ribbon was the prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller. Looking on were her long-serving predecessor, PJ Patterson; the opposition security spokesman; and Jamaica’s then police commissioner.

Private security is a serious business across Latin America. According to a 2013 report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), there are more private security guards than police officers in the region. The Caribbean is particularly fertile ground. [. . .] Fear of violence and property crime is rife; so is distrust of the police. A UNDP seven-country survey published two years ago found less than a quarter of respondents believed their…

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