12 active gang conflicts in St Catherine, Police Commissioner says
Police Commissioner, Antony Anderson

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Police Commissioner Antony Anderson says the recently declared State of Public Emergency in St Catherine is a result of 12 active gang conflicts which can and has resulted in several murders and shootings in the parish.

Anderson made the revelation during a press conference at Jamaica House Friday morning.

At the conference, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a state of public emergency for St Catherine.

READ: Prime Minister declares state of public emergency in St Catherine

“Since the beginning of 2022, in St Catherine, we have arrested 82 persons for the possession of illegal firearm, ammunition or both and seized 59 illegal guns, an increase of 28 per cent compared to last year. We have also continued to prosecute gangs and gang members and are leading several active community engagement programs across the parish,” the police commissioner shared.

However, despite these efforts, Anderson said crime in the parish has continued to spiral out of control.

“As at June 15, the St Catherine North Division recorded 70 murders and 51 shootings, representing a 52 per cent and 76 per cent increase respectively when compared to the similar period in 2021. Meanwhile, in the St Catherine South Division, 58 murders were recorded over the period as was the case last year and 53 shootings recorded compared to 43 last year, an increase of 20 per cent,” he explained.

Anderson noted that up to six weeks ago, the St Catherine South Division was experiencing a reduction in murders by 40 per cent but said the recent conflicts in the St Catherine North Division have extended into the southern section of the parish to include Portmore and Old Harbour.

“As a consequence, and in consultation with the Chief of Defense Staff, we requested that a state of public emergency be declared,” he said.

“We continue our focus on gangs, guns and gunmen. The ‘Get All The Illegal Guns’ Campaign continues with 368 illegal guns seized — an increase of eight per cent. We have already seized 48 illegal guns and we have also seized 7,449 rounds of ammunition — an increase of 52 per cent over last year.

“There is likely to be some disruptions and delays and we ask for your patience and understanding as we collectively respond to the violence in St Catherine,” Anderson added.

The boundaries for the State of Public Emergency are as follows:

The boundaries of the St Catherine State of Public Emergency.

TO THE NORTH: The boundary extends in a westerly direction along the shared borders of St Catherine, St Mary and St Ann to the point of the intersection of St Ann and Clarendon;

TO THE EAST: The boundary starts at the easternmost point of St Catherine at the coastal intersection of the parish boundaries of St Catherine and St Andrew. The eastern boundary then extends in a north-westerly direction along the shared parish boundaries of St Catherine, St Andrew and St Mary;

TO THE SOUTH: The boundary continues along the entire coast of St Catherine and back to the easternmost point of the shared coastal boundary of St Catherine and St Andrew;

TO THE WEST: The boundary extends in a south-easterly direction along the shared parish boundary of St Catherine and Clarendon to the coast.

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