Major crimes down in Manchester, police say

Regional

Major crimes down in Manchester, police say

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Monday, February 10, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester- Police here are reporting a 34 per cent reduction in major crimes since the start of the year. This reduction is in comparison with the corresponding period for last year (January 1 to February 5).

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce on Thursday (February 6), head of the Manchester Police Division, Superintendent Gary Francis commended citizens for this achievement.

“We have recorded a total of 29 major crimes when compared with 44 for the same period last year — a reduction of 15 cases of 34 per cent.

“We ought to commend the citizens who behave themselves to ensure this reduction, and the stakeholders who contribute to the various strategies that resulted in this achievement,” he said.

“Of this number of major crimes that have been reported we have cleared a total of 15 cases (52 per cent),” the superintendent further disclosed.

Manchester has recorded five murders since the start of the year, one less than the corresponding period last year.

“Of the five murders, we have managed to clear two of them. We also cleared three for previous periods,” informed Francis.

He said that before the recent double murder of 29-year-old hairdresser, Shanika Dixon, and her friend, 35-year-old bartender Illara Mullings, the parish was on track to have a significant reduction of murders.

“Before that sad news we were doing so well, because up to that time there were three murders reported in the parish compared to six for the same period last year. Given what happened we have to say we have five compared with six,” Francis said.

Francis then shared his concern about the high levels of domestic violence in the parish.

“Of the five cases of murders recorded since the start of the year, three are domestic-related…collectively, we have to look to see how we can be proactive to reduce these instances — and it is not just about this year, but last year we had about seven categories related to murders.

“The category with the largest number of murders for last year was domestic. We had 10 cases last year, ten instances where people who live with people who know them very well, who use to eat and drink with them, end up being the person who kills them. This is one of the problems that we have identified, and we have been looking at multidimensional methods to see how well we can deal with it,” said Francis.

“In addition to those 10 murders last year that were classified as domestic-related, there were six other murders classified as disputes,” he went on.

He said the police were not aware that there had been an ongoing dispute involving Dixon and her boyfriend.

“We were not aware that this would happen so there was very little that we could do to treat that incident directly. But in general, we appeal to our citizens to join us to say if you have some conflict, speak to someone, or if you hear something next door that you are not so sure about, call the police. Let us come to check it out because there was some amount of commotion before this [double murder] occurred. This [domestic violence] is a challenge,” he said.

The police have seized one illegal firearm and fifty illegal rounds of ammunition since the start of the year. Twenty-eight illegal guns were seized in 2019 in comparison to 18 in 2018.

“We saw over a five-year period a trend where licensed firearms were being stolen in the parish. In 2015 there were 12 reports of stolen licensed firearms. When a firearm is stolen, it is one more illegal firearm in the hands of criminals…last year the number of stolen firearms was three. We hope this year, it will go to zero,” said Francis.


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