ST MARY, Jamaica —Chairman of the St Mary Municipal Corporation Richard Creary says Jamaicans are focusing only on the murder rate and are not highlighting gains made in combating some other types of crimes.
“Crime in the parish has actually decreased, and this seems to have been so over a number of years, year on year, and it speaks to the work of the police force,” he said in referring to his parish. “But what we tend to do in Jamaica is to extract murder figures and use that as crime statistics, which is absolute rubbish! Crime has gone down over the last number of years and St Mary is doing particularly well. We need to stop focusing on just murders; murders alone is not crime.”
Creary made the comments during the St Mary municipality's monthly meeting on January 13 after hearing that various types of crimes continue to trend downwards in the parish.
Head of the St Mary Police Division, Superintendent Bobette Morgan-Simpson, told the meeting that the parish recorded 111 “serious and violent crimes” last year, reflecting a decrease of 48.
Murders also went down from the 32 cases reported in 2020 to 27 last year, Morgan-Simpson disclosed, but noted that even one murder is unacceptable.
St Mary, in the meantime, recorded 18 cases of shooting in 2021 and the previous year, respectively. Robberies declined from 23 in 2020 to 13 last year.
There was also a major fall in the parish's rape cases. Five were recorded last year in comparison to 31 in the previous year.
Morgan-Simpson also reported that her division recorded 20 cases of aggravated assault last year, six fewer than reported in 2020.
Despite the decrease in murders and most other crimes in St Mary, the island generally continues to grapple with a high murder rate — one of the highest in the world per capita.
According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), preliminary numbers show that Jamaica recorded 1,463 murders last year, or 132 more than were reported in 2020.
The JCF added that, for the first 15 days of the new year, the island recorded 72 murders compared to 58 during the corresponding period last year. During the first 15 days Jamaica also recorded an increase in robberies, but there were decreases in shootings, rapes and break-ins.