Murders in St Catherine declined during SOE, says Anderson
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson

KINGSTON, Jamaica— Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, says subsequent to the declaration of the State of Public Emergency in St Catherine on June 17, murders declined by 81 per cent, while shootings reduced by 56 per cent.

The enhanced security measure was announced by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to address the high level of crime in St Catherine, particularly murders.

The Commissioner said over the 14-day period, 66 people were charged, 28 of whom were for serious crimes, including murder, shooting, and sexual offences, while six people were charged with breaches of the Law Reform Fraudulent Transactions Act or lottery scamming.

“Five wanted persons were taken into custody, three of whom were charged for sexual-related offences and two for murder and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. Two major players involved in the gang conflicts in both the St Catherine North and South [police] divisions were also arrested and charged with murder, shooting, and illegal possession of firearm,” Anderson said.

Providing the figures during a virtual press conference on July 5, he added that seven illegal guns were seized during the period.

Meanwhile, Anderson pointed out that there has been a one per cent reduction in major crimes islandwide.

“Since our last press briefing [in May], we have managed to reduce the gap in murders from an increase of 6.3 per cent as was reported then, to 1.9 per cent as at the end of June. This represents a 4.4 per cent reduction in murders over that period,” he noted.

According to the Police Commissioner, gang conflicts account for some 74 per cent of murders, with interpersonal conflicts accounting for 14 per cent; other criminal acts, six per cent; and mob killings, another one per cent. He said the remaining five per cent is still being determined.

Meanwhile, shootings are down by nine per cent, and rape, down 13 per cent. Robberies went up by seven per cent, while break-ins increased by four per cent.

“We had anticipated an even greater decline in murders and shootings as our operational and investigative initiatives took effect. However, this was impacted by the increased gang conflicts in St Catherine during the month and the murder of the mother and four children in Clarendon on the 21st of June,” he said.

The Commissioner reminded Jamaicans to contact the police to intervene in conflicts in communities before they become a crime.

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