CariSECURE moves to strengthen citizen security data collection and monitoring in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean

Jun 21, 2017

A member of the CariSECURE team presenting to conference participants

Citizen security statistics are essential to the development of effective crime intervention and prevention strategies since they reveal developing trends and insights into the possible causes of criminal activity. With this in mind, the CariSECURE Project, in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), hosted a Regional Data Collection Conference in Suriname from June 19-20, 2017 to review documents for the proposed Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit. This toolkit, once finalized, will enhance citizen security data integrity, analysis and usage across the sub-region.

The conference was convened as a precursor to the Twentieth Meeting of the CARICOM Advisory Group on Statistics (AGS) and brought together 65 crime data management and policy development experts from across the Caribbean, including representatives from CARICOM, UNDP, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the USAID Youth Empowerment Services (YES) and Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) projects; as well as government representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname,  and Trinidad and Tobago.  

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the regional conference, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Armstrong Alexis expressed gratitude to USAID for their support and partnership in spearheading the CariSECURE project. He also expressed his gratitude to CARICOM and the agencies represented at the event, for their input, expertise and collaboration in tailoring the proposed tools to the specific needs of each country.

“The Caribbean has struggled with finding generic but adequately robust and representative means of defining, measuring, reporting on and responding to the scourge of crime on the society,” he said, adding that on-going efforts, though necessary and largely beneficial, have not morphed into valid and reliable instruments that offer rigorous insights into the challenges faced.  “It is therefore a step in the right direction when the agencies you represent are able to come together to define common approaches to a region-wide phenomenon which impact all of us,” he added.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Edwin Nolan, United States Ambassador to Suriname, highlighted the importance of reliable data in the development of targeted strategies to address youth involvement in violence and crime. “The U.S. Government is working to ensure that our citizen security program is appropriate and responsive to the region’s needs,” he said, adding that access to reliable data is critical to gaining a better understanding of the crime and violence problem in the region.  “For our partners to be effective, they require a better understanding of where crime is occurring, the frequency with which it is occurring, and who the perpetrators and the victims are,” he continued.

The proposed toolkit includes a range of country-specific tools including the Caribbean Composite Citizen Security Indicator Framework (CCSIF) which will provide a standardized approach to reporting on citizen security patterns across the Caribbean; and guidance notes which will standardize the data collection process and instruct stakeholders on the use of the CCSIF.

Once finalized, the Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit will enhance the validity and reliability of citizen security statistics by establishing the technical criteria for data capture. It will also ensure that data are disaggregated by priority criteria including, but not limited to, the type of crime, perpetrator, victim, age, gender and location. By adopting the toolkit, policy-makers and technical personnel will be able to accurately generate and report on the citizen security indicators at the national and regional levels.

Dr. Philomen Harrison, CARICOM Director of Regional Statistics, also thanked the project partners for their aptitude to working with CARICOM to standardize citizen security data across the Caribbean. She emphasized the need for data standardization between agencies, given that statistics and inter-agency collaboration are essential ingredients in pursuing comprehensive efforts aimed at addressing crime, insecurity and other key social issues across the region.

Following the regional conference in Suriname, CariSECURE hosted a series of national workshops in the beneficiary countries during the months of July and August 2017, to further strengthen the proposed tools. These national workshops will be concluded with a Regional Workshop in August 2017, which will bring together over 50 stakeholders to finalize the roadmap for implementation of the CariSECURE Project in each country.

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