Murders committed in the course of family disputes, clandestine killings in which victims are dismembered then buried, and gang-related slayings are the push factors for the four per cent increase in homicides between January and July this year, compared to the same period in 2021, the police have reported.
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson gave the data during a digital press briefing on Tuesday at which he disclosed that gang conflicts account for 70 per cent of the murders, interpersonal conflicts account 14 per cent, six per cent occurred in furtherance of criminal acts, mob killings accounted for one per cent and nine per cent of the homicides are still under investigation.
At the end of July last year the police recorded 819 murders compared to 850 at the end of July this year.
General Anderson, in making reference to the recent "series of interpersonal murders" which have rocked the island — such as the slaying of a Clarendon mother and her four children by a family member in June — urged people to "report disputes before they escalate".
"Although suspects may be charged, families and communities are still left to grieve," the police commissioner said.
"We are also seeing a number of cases where persons are being killed and their bodies buried or disposed of, as was the case in Kingston Western where the dismembered bodies of four persons were removed from shallow graves. These are just some of the cases that have influenced the four per cent increase we are now seeing, and these are the matters we will continue to deal with over the next few weeks," he told the briefing.
In the meantime, the police say shootings continue to trend downward with eight per cent fewer incidents so far this year compared to the same period in 2021. Rape is also down 16 per cent.
Robberies, however, are up 10.5 per cent and break-ins up three per cent.
In that respect, the police commissioner said, "The increase in robberies and break-ins are of particular concern as life gets back to pre-COVID normalcy".
He said in response to the trends the constabulary made adjustments to personnel in several divisions and will be acquiring additional mobility assets which will be deployed over the next few weeks. He also said another team of quick response motorcyclists will be deployed by the end of August.
Anderson further said divisional commanders have been instructed to review their anti-robbery strategies in light of these changes.