ZOSO, SOE can't fix things in 1 month or 1 year

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Why is everyone still surprised that our murder rate to date is higher than last year. Many thought that two zones of special operations (ZOSO) and two states of emergency (SOE) can dramatically reduce the murder rate nationwide. Twenty communities account for over 50 per cent of the country's murders. Last year six police divisions accounted for 65 per cent of murders. Basically two ZOSOs and two SOEs aren't enough.

Currently the main reasons for no more ZOSOs and SOEs is shortage of human resources in the police force. So the security forces got to use what they have in a smarter and more productive way. The main purpose of ZOSO is for social intervention with the objective of “clear, hold and build”. But it seems as if the security forces in Denham Town underestimated the smartness of these criminals. Because as soon as they started leaving and entering the 'build' phase the criminals decided to 'tun it up back '.

Common sense tells us that mere months of ZOSO or SOE will not be enough to bring down these sophisticated criminals. These gangs can survive for years; they will simply wait out the State. The main purpose of the SOEs is to get the main organisers of crime. The other aims include building better community-police relationships. From this, residents will be more likely to give police more information.

So many will ask: Where do we go from here? One word, technology.

The State must set up closed circuit television systems or spy balloons in areas under SOEs and ZOSOs. Take, for example, the setting up cameras in the Spanish Town bus terminal should've happened long ago.

Since our police force is estimated to be just over 11,000 members and the army 3,000, we have two options: increase the security forces by 100 per cent or invest in cyber intelligence.

For now, even though the police are short on boots on the ground, they have to stretch what they have to give us at least one more ZOSO and two more SOEs in two more of our murderous police divisions.

If we really want to reduce the murder rate it will not take a one-day, one-month, or even one-year thing. It will take years of dedication and discipline.

So, those people who live in gated communities who are calling for an end to the ZOSOs and SOEs should bear these thoughts in mind. As well, think of what the murder rate would be were there no SOE in St James and St Catherine North division and no ZOSOs. The statistics in those declared areas have seen over a 50 per cent reduction in the murder rate, even though the national figures continue to rise above last year.

Teddylee Gray

Ocho Rios, St Ann

teddylee.gray@gmail.com

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