COMMISSIONER of Police Major General Antony Anderson says there is a 12 per cent reduction in murders for the quarter ending September 30, 2023 when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2022,
He was speaking on Tuesday at the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) quarterly media briefing, where he also reported that all major crimes are down 13 per cent during the period under review.
"Murders are down 12 per cent, which translates to 141 less persons killed. Shooting incidents [are] down nine per cent, rape down 18 per cent, and robberies down 17 per cent," Anderson shared.
The commissioner noted that interpersonal violence accounted for 21 per cent of total homicides while gang-related murders accounted for 66 per cent of all killings.
"This is a shift from the 70 plus per cent [of murders] attributable to gangs as our counter-gang measures take effect," Anderson remarked.
He lauded the police personnel who are dealing with major gang cases, and those who are "making the effort to deal with the collective gang situation where people come together to commit crimes".
The country's top cop said illegal guns continue to be the weapon of choice for criminals, with 84 per cent of all murders committed by the gun.
"In our efforts to combat this, 516 illegal weapons have been recovered this year so far," he said. Later, in response to a reporter's question, Anderson noted that between 600 and 700 illegal weapons are seized by the police each year.
Looking ahead, Anderson said, "As we begin the final quarter of this year we remain resolute in our drive to save as many lives as possible, to continue our efforts against gangs and violent criminal organisations, and end the year with reductions in all major crimes."
The commissioner said the JCF was looking forward to even greater collaboration and assistance from local law enforcement partners — the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Customs, Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and others.
"Most importantly, we're anticipating continued public support for our force," he said while noting that the JCF adjusted some of its operational initiatives, in line with its intelligence and crime analysis, during the period under review.
"We saw some shifts in the types and motives of crimes; and even though our activities have impacted gang activities and hot spots we note that there were a number of homicides outside these areas that appear to have a basis in interpersonal issues," said Anderson.
And he pointed to what he described as some "significant breakthroughs" during the period for investigators, with two serial killers arrested and charged.
"In St James, 25-year-old Ronaldo Ricketts was linked to at least five cases of murder of homeless persons as well as other cases of rape, abduction and possibly kidnapping.
"Meanwhile, in St Ann, we had 45-year-old Richard Belnavis from Buckfield, St Mary, who has been charged for three counts of murder so far, and some others are pending," said Anderson.
He said investigators in both cases are probing other related matters to ascertain whether these persons are associated with other similar cases. Of note is that investigators have found no link between the two alleged serial killers.
The commissioner also commended investigators for their persistence, and for leveraging the appropriate technology in solving the two cases.