KINGSTON, Jamaica – Violent rivalries among Jamaica's lottery scam rings have helped drive the Caribbean island's homicide rate to the highest level in five years.
Police say Jamaica had at least 1,192 slayings in 2015, a roughly 20 percent increase from the previous year. There were 1,005 killings in 2014, the lowest annual total since 2003.
Jamaica had about 45 slayings per 100,000 people in 2015. The island's population is roughly 2.7 million.
It's a long way from National Security Minister Peter Bunting's goal of reducing the annual homicide numbers to 320 killings by 2017. In recent days, Bunting said officials "will not be deterred or daunted by this setback."
Authorities attribute the rise in killings to clashes among lottery scam rings fighting over "lead lists" containing identity information about targets living abroad.