Crime in Paradise: Preview of Forthcoming IDB Study on Crime in the Caribbean

As in other parts of the LAC region, crime and violence have deeply negative effects on businesses and individuals in the Caribbean. The IDB has supported data generation in the region using victimization surveys for individuals and businesses, the highlights of which are presented in this month’s quarterly bulletin with a special focus on crime.

This bulletin provides a preview of some key highlights from a forthcoming IDB study using new data on victimization of individuals and businesses to provide a more complete picture of crime and violence in the region. The bulletin provides a regional overview and country specific crime profiles.

Key takeaways for the region include:

  • Crime strongly affects persons in the Caribbean. 40% of the Caribbean population identified crime and security-related issues as the main problems facing their country in 2014/2015, even above poverty, the economy or inequality.
  • Crime is significantly associated with reduced economic growth. One of the channels through which crime can effect growth is through its impact on the private sector. We find that crime does have a significant impact on firms in the Caribbean region.
  • The defining characteristic of crime in the region is the uniquely high level of violent crime. Victimization surveys show particularly high levels of assault/threat in the Caribbean, often with the use of guns. The region experiences medium levels of property crime in comparison to international capital city averages.
  • Victimization rates were generally higher in capital metropolitan areas than at the national level. However, the concentration in capital cities seems somewhat less pronounced in the Caribbean than in other world regions.
  • The Bahamas (New Providence) and Jamaica (Kingston Metropolitan Area) stand out with the highest levels of violent crime. In Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain Metropolitan Area) the levels of robbery and vehicle theft were also comparatively high for the region. Suriname (Paramaribo) and Barbados (Greater Bridgetown Area) show significantly lower rates in nearly all crimes.


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