Jamaica murder rate drops after gang crackdown

Jamaica says it has had significant success in bringing down its murder rate, one of the highest in the world.

The government said there had been a 44% drop in the number of killings in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2010.

It said its policy of saturating gang-dominated areas with police and soldiers was succeeding.

But human rights groups say extra-judicial killings and other abuses by security forces have increased.

Police statistics showed there were 238 murders during the first three months of 2011 compared to 426 during the same period in 2010.

In central and western areas of the capital, Kingston, the murder rate was down 60%.

National Security Minister Dwight Nelson said the fall in the murder rate was the result of a strategy of confronting criminal gangs in their strongholds.

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