Western News

Crime Drop

Hanover sees sharp reduction in murders over the past six months

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, January 04, 2018



GREEN ISLAND, Hanover

Superintendent in charge of the Hanover Police Division Sharon Beeput has lauded residents of the parish for their assistance, which has resulted in the sharp reduction of crime in recent months.

Beeput, who took up command of the then crime-infested parish in March last year, disclosed that at that time there was a 500 per cent increase in crime over the previous year.

“When I got here (Hanover) the crime rate was way up. I was told by my staff that it was about 500 per cent at the time. By the end of the year, we would have taken it down to about 13 per cent [increase over the previous 12 months]. And, it was not done by us alone, it was through the input of you the citizens of this parish,” she emphasised.

Beeput, who was speaking in Green Island, Hanover at an annual march against violence, domestic dispute, child abuse, and road fatalities on Tuesday, added, “We are here to speak, or to step on the devil this evening for him to keep 2018 at a positive side; we want to be positive, we don't want to go into this year dealing negative.”

“… last year [there were] 60 murders versus 53 for the other year [2016], so we had an increase of about seven. But just to say that 45 per cent of that 60 have been cleared [up]. So, 75 per cent of the murders have been cleared. So the police in Hanover are doing extra well.”

A breakdown of the crime figures for 2017 by the five police divisions in Hanover revealed that Lucea, the parish's capital, recorded 27 murders; Sandy Bay, six murders; Green Island, 11 murders; Kingsvale, 14; and Ramble, two.

Twenty-one firearms were also recovered during the year, along with approximately 130 rounds of ammunition.

Last October during the monthly general meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation, Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels lauded the police for their work in the reduction of crime in the parish.

“I must really applaud them (police) for the wonderful work that they have done. The leadership, that's Miss Beeput, she came in and organise and associate with the relevant persons to assist her in doing a wonderful work,” Mayor Samuels said, adding, “I don't know what level of contribution you guys made, but from my office, we played an integral role in the success so far.”

“At one stage we were up there with St James and Westmoreland, and we slowly just drop back and other parishes now start come before us,” Samuels stated.

“I am following up closely on it and we are doing a very wonderful work down here. And we must really praise the security forces. We always talk against police, but in this case, I think they are making things safer for us down here. So, that is good. Special thanks to Miss Beeput.”

Meanwhile, the annual march was made possible through a partnership of the Christian Community Uniting for Change, the police and neighbourhood watch groups within the parish.

This is the fourth year of the march since its inception in 2014 after being co-founded by Beeput, who at the time was assigned to the parish as the officer in charge of the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB).

However, this time around the event was scaled down to a town meeting and gospel concert in the Green Island area.

Reverend Revern Grant, pastor of the Calvary Gospel Assembly located in Pell River, who also spearheads the new year's event, believes that it has played a role in the reduction of crime.

“From a layman's point of view, I see where over the last six months in 2017 we see where crime has been reduced in Hanover. I am not sure about other groups, but I am sure that what we are doing, we can say 'yes', we see success from it.”

Rev Grant said that he and the group of churches have been working closely with the police in communities and targeting schools.

“What we have realised is that it is the younger ones now. They see that if they don't retaliate to certain things in a violent way, then they are not comfortable. So what myself and the CSSB do, we go into schools and we assist from that point of view,” said Rev Grant, adding that counselling is provided to students and parents and, if needed, the Victim Support Unit is called in.

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