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Murders down but crime still a worry in Manchester

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Staff reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 17, 2021

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — There is a 21 per cent reduction in murder here, but head of the Manchester police, Superintendent Lloyd Darby says the south-central parish is seeing an increase in three categories of crime since the start of the year when compared to the corresponding period last year.

“We are not where we would want to be at this time and, so far, seven major crimes. We are seeing an increase in three categories [namely] larceny, robbery and rape. The other acquisitive crime of break-in, although we are still seeing a decrease from 2020, it is still a concern to us because that decrease is only five and we know that our parish is a favourite place for persons from outside to come in and break, so we are guarding that vigorously and we have several strategies that we have put in place,” he said.

Darby was speaking at Thursday's sitting of the local municipality.

Manchester has recorded 22 murders since the start of the year, in comparison to 28 for the corresponding period. It is among nine police divisions having recorded fewer murders for the corresponding period up to October 9.

The divisions are St Andrew Central, St Andrew North, St Catherine North, Trelawny, St Mary, St Ann, Manchester, St Elizabeth, and St Thomas.

Twenty-five shootings have been recorded in Manchester since the start of the year, the same number for the corresponding period last year.

“Overall, we have 319 serious crimes and this compares to 293 serious crimes for 2020, which is an increase,” said Darby.

He said the police were progressing with investigations into three recent murders in the division, including Royal Flat (Manchester Central), Fearon District in Clarendon (Spalding police area), and Christiana (Manchester North East).

“I must say that, while these incidents were two days apart, they are not in any way connected [based on] our investigations and we are progressing,” he said.

In responding to a question by Councillor Mario Mitchell (Bellefield Division, People's National Party) as to whether there were active gangs in Manchester, Darby described the threat level as moderate.

“We have two gangs that have been operating in Manchester for quite a while, we have done a lot of work in demobilising these gangs. One of them is the Hundred-man gang in Greenvale. The other is the Three Chains gang led by 'Boomhead'… It is a moderate threat level that we categorise it to be at this time,” said Darby.

“The issue of scamming is a phenomenon that creates a lot of violence and when these scammers have disagreements, where recently we saw an upsurge in the Comfort area resulting from these activities. We have done some work [by] arresting some persons,” he added.

Darby said 60 people were arrested for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

“During September we managed to arrest 60 persons who were caught breaching the (DRMA). We see this as an important area. We see that as our duty and our effort to reduce the spread of the pandemic and the plan is that we will increase our arrests for this month of October,” he said.

He said that, in the past month the police seized eight pistols.

“We managed to seize eight firearms from the streets of the parish. Six of these firearms were seized through stop-and-search efforts on the road, while two were seized from an operation at a house, resulting from those seizures. We had eight persons being arrested and charged for illegal possession of firearm,”