Violent crime spike worries Jamaica security chief

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica’s national security minister says a worrying spike in violent crime is threatening the steady progress made in reducing the island’s high homicide rate.

Peter Bunting told lawmakers Tuesday that there were 251 homicides between June 30 and Aug. 31. That’s an average of four a day for the Caribbean island of 2.7 million people, compared to an average of 2.9 a day during the first half of the year.

Bunting says there were 197 homicides during the same two-month period last year. He says the rise “is threatening the gains which have been made over the last three years.”

In 2009, Jamaica had the world’s third highest homicide rate, at 63 per 100,000 people. By last year, the rate had fallen to roughly 40 per 100,000.

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