The Stark Numbers: More Children Have Been Murdered This Year, Especially Girls

A couple of days ago, a friend tweeted the following:

MISSING TEEN: Ariell Lawrence has been missing since late last night. Last seen in this birthday outfit. After 1 am she took taxi from Portsmouth Portmore to Spanish Town. She texted re feeling unsafe in the taxi & did not arrive. Help to find her. Plz RT

Later that day, Ariell’s body was found with chop wounds on a road in Portmore, St. Catherine.

This may not be what you want to read at this time of year, when we are all rushing off to parties and on shopping trips, and singing happy Christmas songs. Below are some disturbing numbers. Statistics are painful sometimes, aren’t they? This short post is dedicated to the children – and to all Jamaicans – who have been murdered this year. While we are enjoying ourselves, many Jamaicans will be sad this Christmas, missing a family member.

Please think of them.

Students of Green Pond High School mourning the murder of their classmate, 15-year-old Shineka Gray in Irwin Meadows, St. James in February this year. (Photo: Adrian Frater/Gleaner)

I obtained these figures from UNICEF Jamaica:

  • In 2017, for the period January 1 – November 30, a total of 51 children were murdered: 32 males and 19 females. In total in 2016, 41 children were murdered: 33 males and 8 females. Source: JCF Statistics & Information Management Unit. 
  • Notably, more children have been murdered to date in 2017 than for the year 2016, and significantly more girls.

Incidentally, is Montego Bay shaping up to be one of the most murderous cities in the world for 2018? The Jamaica Observer reported last month:

With a population reported by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica at the end of 2016 at 2,730,000, the island, up to the end of September 2017, has recorded more than 1,150 murders at a rate of 42 murders per 100,000 of population. This ranks Jamaica as the fourth most murderous country in the entire world.

The parish of St James has a population of 186,000 residents, 111,000 of whom live in the parish capital Montego Bay, which reported 255 murders year to date at a staggering rate of 230 murders per 100,000 of population. At this rate Montego Bay is unquestionably the deadliest city in the entire world and tracks at 38 times above the global murder rate. If we express the murders against the parish’s population of 186,000, the parish of St James reports a murder rate of 137 per 100,000 of the population and is still the deadliest place in the world for countries not at war.

Yes. Numbers hurt, and so do the human stories behind them. Here is the report on Ariell’s murder in Portmore, earlier this week.

Ariell Lawrence was murdered on the night she was celebrating her 17th birthday.



5 thoughts on “The Stark Numbers: More Children Have Been Murdered This Year, Especially Girls

  1. Thanks Emma! Not good news, but important data to have easy access to. Thanks for highlighting this crisis facing girls and boys and their families. Judith

    Liked by 1 person

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