Crime spike!

Crime spike!

81 murders reported in first 22 days of year; a 13 per cent jump

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, January 23, 2021

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An orgy of violence in St James since the start of this year has left 18 people dead and eight others nursing gunshot wounds while pushing the country's murder total to 13 per cent above the same period last year.

Figures obtained by the Jamaica Observer showed 81 murders across the island up to yesterday, nine more than the 72 murders over the same period in 2020.

St James, where a state of emergency (SOE) was in place at this time last year, had recorded only two murders up to January 2020. But since the SOE was discontinued embolden criminals have had a field day, with women and children among the victims. The parish is now reporting an 800 per cent increase in murders this year, compared to last year.

Two other police divisions where SOEs had been in place, St Andrew South and Kingston Western, complete the top three divisions which have reported worrying increases in murders.

In the St Andrew South Police Division, 10 murders had been reported up to the start of yesterday, three more than the same period last year. But Observer sources reported another killing in the Waterhouse community shortly before midday yesterday as gunmen continued to run amok in the division.

The Kingston Western Police Division, where several splintered gangs are at war, recorded nine murders up to the start of yesterday, seven more than the same period last year.

The latest crime numbers come days after the Observer received a copy of the Jamaica 2019 National Crime Victimization Report, which was prepared by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin).

The report, the fifth to have been done in Jamaica, looked at statistics on crimes that occurred from September 2018 to August 2019.

According to Statin, 6,354 households were sampled across the island with a response rate of just below 84 per cent.

The report found that the majority of people, 90.3 per cent, felt safe at home, while inside a church was identified as the place the majority of individuals felt safest (97.5 per cent in urban areas and 98 per cent in rural Jamaica).

The report also said nine out of every 10 people felt safe walking in their community during the day with that falling to seven out of every 10 persons at night.

Portland and Hanover had the highest proportions of people who felt safe walking in their communities alone during daytime, while Clarendon and St Andrew had the lowest proportion of people who felt safe walking alone at nights.

The report said further that the majority of people felt that their communities are safe for children. There was no breakdown in the latest police data about how many children are included in the 81 people murdered across the island so far.

In addition, the report said, despite more than 1,000 murders every year in recent times, eight out of every 10 people said they did not feel they would become a victim of crime within the next 12 months.


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