Murders at four-year high

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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THE year 2015 will end with the highest murder rate over a four-year period, with western parishes — known to be a haven for lottery scammers — accounting for a high number of homicides, according to police statistics.

With 1,192 murders recorded as at December 26, this year leads murders recorded for each of the years from 2011-2014, although it also boasts the highest clear-up rate at 616. Clear-up rate between 2011 and 2014 hovered in the 400 range.


The year 2014 ended with 997 murders; 2013 with 1,190 murders; 2012 with 1,085 murders; and 2011 with 1,117.


The figures should not bode well for Dr Carl Williams, who is a year into his tenure as commissioner of police, and National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who has presided over a steady increase in murders since taking over the portfolio in 2011, with the exception of 2014.


Both men have been regular features at homicide scenes, promising to rein in murders, but apparently to no effect as the statistics have shown.


Like last year, the ‘lotto scamming parish’ of St James recorded the most murders across the island with 211. The other ‘scam parishes’ with high murder rates are Westmoreland with 106, and Hanover with 59.


Bunting had said previously that the prevalence of lotto scamming had been driving murders in western parishes.


Other parishes with high murder rates are St Catherine — home of the notorious Klansman and One Order gangs that trade in drugs and extortion — with 203; Kingston with 132; and St Andrew, 110.


The statistics show that rape is at a four-year low of 570. Last year rape figures stood at 701.


Shootings, at 1,055, declined by three per cent this year, compared to the 1,089 recorded last year. The clear-up rate remains low at 382, although it edged above the 2014 shooting clear-up rate of 352.


Also on the decline is aggravated assault, at 583, for 2015 compared to 697 for last year; robbery, 1,880 for 2015 down from 2,241 in 2014; break-ins, 1,757 in 2015 compared to 2,483 in 2014; and larceny at 335 for 2015 compared to 442 in 2014.


Murders were up in St Thomas, Portland and St Elizabeth, which are known for their low murder figures. St Thomas recorded 23 murders compared to 12 last year. At nine murders, Portland registered two more than last year, and St Elizabeth recorded three more murders than the 21 reported over the same period last year.


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