'It is the tool of death' - Police Commissioner says Jamaica has a persistent gun problemThursday, September 16, 2021
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson says while Jamaica is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is also struggling to effectively deal with another major problem, crime.
In a virtual press briefing held yesterday, Anderson expressed that for the past two decades, despite a decline in major crimes, there has been an increase in murders.
He reported that since the start of the year, 991 murders have been recorded, a 10.5 per cent increase when compared to the same period last year.
The Commissioner was particularly disheartened that the statistics show that a major part of the crimes being committed is through the use of a gun. Dubbing the island's crime issue a “persistent gun problem”, Anderson said the gun is “the tool of death.”
"Eight hundred and forty-three per cent of all murders that occurred this year, occurred with the use of a firearm. Last week, we had 24 murders in a week. Eighteen of those 24 occurred in two days and 92 per cent of all murders that occurred last week, occurred with a firearm. There is a theme here," he said. "We've had a persistent gun problem in Jamaica. It is the tool of death."
With that said, Anderson shared that for the island's gun culture to see a significant improvement, those who decide to take up the gun must face more stringent punishments.
"It needs to be something that the person who decides to pick up the gun and to carry the gun, when they come into the system and we get a conviction, they need to be in jail for a long time. It has to be," he said.
He continued: "We have to take a different approach to the guns that are out there killing our people...whatever the regime is, whatever the system is, whatever the arrangements are, if they do not assist us in protecting our people from murder, new arrangements are necessary, new laws are necessary, new structures are necessary. It cannot be we just have this pandemic going and nothing changes."