The Role of the Church in Helping to Reduce the Levels of Crime and Violence in Jamaican Society
This professional project was embarked upon with the understanding that the levels of crime and violence in Jamaica were too high. It was also predicated on the fact that for the first time in the nation of Jamaica the church was united nationally to speak with one voice. The professional project was undertaken upon the hypothesis that the erosion of values and attitudes in the society directly impacts upon the levels of crime and violence. It was therefore presumed by this writer that if the Church united redoubled her efforts at changing the values and attitudes, this should reflect upon the levels of crime and violence. All other efforts by the church to help address this problem would be based on this understanding.
The methodology employed in this project was primary as well as secondary research. The nature of the research was descriptive by means of meetings of the Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches, (JUGC), of which the writer is the convener; as well as data supplied by various reports and groups. The Umbrella Group consists of the following six (6) church associations, which comprise approximately ninety-four percent of the churches in Jamaica.
- Jamaica Council of Churches
- Jamaica Association of Evangelicals
- Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches
- Jamaica Pentecostal Union Apostolic
- West Indies Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists
- Church of God in Jamaica
This writer also was privileged to attend and participate in many other forums discussing and strategizing for means of dealing with the subject matter.
The findings revealed that many groups, commissions, and non-governmental organizations in the country had sought indeed to provide the solution to rising crime and violence. These reports, however, did not provide a framework for mobilization or were mere academic exercises that failed to follow through with the implementation of their recommendations. Some of them failed to include the church in their solution package. Even para-church groups had arisen in the society to deal with perceived crime and violence with the resulting increase in crime over the years.