The economic and social well-being of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean has been plagued by high levels of violent crimes throughout the region. According to the 2012 UNDP Caribbean Human Development Report (CHDR) entitled Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security, this situation is worsened by the implementation of ineffective policies which fail to sufficiently address the root causes of violence and crime, especially among the region’s youth. Since the release of the CHDR, UNDP has been conducting intensive consultations with national and regional authorities on the report’s findings and recommendations. The main finding was that robust policies and programmes could not be developed in the absence of timely and reliable data. As a first step towards addressing this situation, UNDP, with funding from USAID, initiated the CariSECURE project in July 2016.
Formally titled CariSECURE - Strengthening Evidence Based Decision Making for Citizen Security in the Caribbean, the CariSECURE project is a component of USAID’s Youth Empowerment Services (YES) project and is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the technical assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The goal of the CariSECURE project is to improve youth crime and violence policy-making and programming in the Southern and Eastern Caribbean through the use of quality, comparable and reliable national citizen security information.
The theory of change being pursued is that CariSECURE will improve the decision-making process in Caribbean public institutions by providing quantitative and qualitative tools for analysis and supporting their incorporation into national citizen security policies and actions. The Project aims to transform quantitative data into useful qualitative information, enabling public servants to make data-informed decisions and to use this information to develop policies and programmes that address key crime and violence problems identified in the data.
Towards achieving this, the CariSECURE project will rely on the intervention logic used by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention which focuses on preventing disease or injury from occurring rather than treating consequences. This model is comprised of four essential steps:
- Identifying the problem;
- Identifying risk and protective factors;
- Developing and testing prevention strategies; and
- Ensuring widespread adoption of these strategies.
The process employed by the Project covers the first three steps and implies (i) processing data required to define the problem; (ii) transforming it into information to identify risk and protective factors of youth involvement in crime and violence; and (iii) facilitating decision making required to develop preventive policies and programmes.
It is therefore expected, that by improving the availability, comparability, reliability and analysis of disaggregated citizen security data, the Project will complement the on-going efforts for improving the quality of preventive policy decisions made in target institutions, and thus contribute to the overall reduction of youth crime and violence in the framework the YES project.
In line with the intervention logic described above, the CariSECURE project will target three key outputs reflecting its theory of change, as follows:
OUTPUT 1: Standardized and disaggregated crime data reporting within and among national authorities to foster the reliance on valid, reliable, and comparable data on citizen security.
OUTPUT 2: Reliance on evidence based analysis of crime and violence data to inform national citizen security policy making.
OUTPUT 3: Targeted policymaking to reduce likelihood of youth involvement in crime and violence, based on valid, reliable, and comparable evidence at all levels.
CariSECURE will be implemented in 10 Southern and Eastern Caribbean countries, with specific emphasis on Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. It is expected that by 2020, target countries will be using evidence-based decision-making to develop and approve policies and programmes supported with national budgetary allocations, which effectively target youth crime and violence risk factors, thereby contributing to the reduction of youth involvement in crime and violence.