The Associated Press
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 | 3:51 p.m.
Haiti’s capital has seen a significant drop in homicide rates in recent years despite a public perception that the poor Caribbean country is rife with crime and violence, two social scientists said Wednesday.
In addition, most Haitians view the national police force favorably and see no need to bring back the disbanded army, according to the preliminary findings of a study shared with The Associated Press.
The findings contradict a widespread view that the Haitian National Police force is unpopular and people have felt under siege from violent crime both before and after the devastating earthquake nearly two years ago.
Haiti does not feature among the top 58 most violent countries classified by the recently released Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which sponsors studies on crime trends worldwide. Haiti is also an outlier in the Western Hemisphere. Jamaica, ranked third the most violent country in the world, had an average annual homicide rate of 60 per 100,000 from 2004 to 2009. Honduras had 50 per 100,000.
Three-fourths of those interviewed said they thought the Haitian National Police should be the country’s “primary security provider.”
The latest round of interviews was done after the administration of President Michel Martelly announced it would restore the national army, which was disbanded in 1995 because of a long history of abuses and involvement in coups.
Of those surveyed since the announcement, 65 percent “strongly disagreed” that the military should be re-established, while less than 1 percent “strongly agreed.”