KINGSTON, Jamaica – Although crime and violence remain major concerns for citizens, Jamaicans generally feel safe living in their country, according to a Gleaner-commissioned poll by pollster Bill Johnson.
Johnson interviewed 1,008 persons for the survey, which was conducted 5-6 March in 84 communities across the island’s 14 parishes. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.
An overwhelming 83 per cent said they felt safe living in their communities, while 14 per cent said they did not. Three per cent said they did not know.
The majority of those who said that they were not feeling safe live in Kingston, St. Andrew, Westmoreland and St. James. These persons were mainly in the age groups 18 to 24 and 55 to 64.
Persons were more guarded when responding to how safe they felt when leaving home for work, to run errands or go shopping. Sixty-six per cent said they felt safe, 28 per cent said they did not, while five per cent did not know.
Significantly, 83 per cent of the respondents said they would recommend Jamaica as a vacation spot to friends living overseas. Fourteen per cent said they would not, while three per cent were uncommitted.
As for which of the two major political parties are better equipped to deal with crime, the governing People’s National Party polled 32 per cent of those interviewed while the Jamaica Labour Party got 28 per cent.
The majority, 40 per cent, said they did not know which would do a better job.
In another of Johnson’s polls, 72 per cent of persons polled said crime was Jamaica’s most pressing problem. A record 1,671 persons were murdered in Jamaica last year.