Crime figures continue to climb despite SOEs

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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JUST over four murders each day in the last week, have pushed the country's murder tally to 1,026 since the start of this year.

Official figures from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) show that the number of murders committed in Jamaica up to October 12 is now a notch above the 997 recorded for the same period last year, despite states of public emergency (SOE) in the St Andrew South Police Division, Clarendon, sections of St Catherine and the western parishes of St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.

Despite the state of emergency in the St Andrew South Police Division, which covers more than 20 inner-city communities, including Payne Lane, Riverton City, Seaview Gardens, and sections of lower Maxfield Avenue, it continues to lead the island in terms of murders with 127 recorded so far this year.

This reflects an almost eight per cent increase over the corresponding period last year.

But it is the Kingston Central Police Division, in which a bloody gang feud is playing out, where the police have so far recorded the largest increase in murders over last year (136 per cent), despite only 26 murders so far this year.

St James, with 115 murders this year — up 44 per cent over last year — remains one of the country's crime hot spots, while 102 murders in the St Catherine South Police Division makes it a worry for the Police High Command, as that is an increase of 42 per cent over last year.

With 22 murders so far, St Elizabeth remains relatively peaceful. However, there are concerns that gangsters fleeing neighbouring parishes now under states of emergency could head to that usually peaceful parish, amid a 37 per cent increase in killings over last year.

On the positive side, the bloodletting in Westmoreland has slowed considerably, with 65 murders so far — a 42 per cent decline in the parish which is under a state of emergency.

Hanover, which is also under a state of emergency, has seen its murder numbers decline by 44 per cent to 25 when compared to the 45 reported over the similar period last year.

In total, the number of murders in the metro region of Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine is up by 11 per cent, this while the rural parishes have recorded a nine per cent decline.

In the other serious and violent crimes category, shootings are up five per cent, while the number of reported cases of rape is down six per cent and the reported cases of aggravated assault are down three per cent.

With 483 motor vehicles reported stolen this year, the police have recorded a more than 30 per cent increase in that crime category, while the 527 illegal firearms seized by the police represent a sharp drop from the 595 seized in the corresponding period last year.

— Arthur Hall


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