St Ann top cop aims for less murders in 2022
POWELL... domestic violence contributed to most of the murders
Parish records 55 homicides last year, down from 70 in 2020

The St Ann police are striving for another significant reduction in murders this year.

Head of the St Ann police, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell said that law enforcers in the north-east Jamaica parish will be going the extra mile to continue with the strategy of increased community-based policing which contributed to a 21 per cent reduction in murders.

“One of the things that we will continue to do this year is to increase our community engagement, which is one of our public interaction measures. We will be partnering with our stakeholders and residents to build the relationship between the police and citizens to find solutions to the issues of crime,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer.

In 2021 St Ann recorded 55 murders, compared to 70 in the previous year.

“Last year our policing efforts bore some fruits, as opposed to murders in 2020. But 55 people being murdered in St Ann is much too high for us to be gratified about, though we are thankful for the reduction. For this year we are looking for more success as it relates to reduction. We are going to ask the full cooperation of all our residents in the parish as it relates to making St Ann one of the safest places in Jamaica,” Powell added.

The lawman also credited the success to efforts by members of his team, whom he said had the parish's best interest at heart.

“I want to express appreciation to the staff for the tremendous effort they made as it relates to policing across the division. Last year we did a lot of retooling as it relates to our human resource and I believe that did extremely well. There was also divine intervention on our part, as we held our Monday morning station devotion sessions,” he said

Domestic violence, Powell detailed, was the main contributor to the murders, which he said the police actively tried to quell last year. His advice is for citizens to find alternatives other than resorting to violence to solve their conflicts.

“When we analyse our murders for last year, approximately 50 per cent result from domestic violence and so that number for conflict among people who know each other is too much,” he said

“We will be focusing heavily on domestic violence reduction for this year, and we are thankful that we have a domestic violence intervention centre at the Alexandria Police Station, and we are going to ask that people who are having disputes, especially at the southern belt of the parish, seek to go to the centre as that will help to resolve the issues,” Powell continued

Since the start of 2022, the parish has recorded five murders — similar to the same period of last year. Two of the most recent occurred on Thursday, involving Carlton Miller, a tour bus driver of Belle Air, Runaway Bay, who was found stabbed to death on Mount Corbet main road in Discovery Bay; and Rohan Wilson, who was also stabbed to death, by a man said to be mentally challenged, in Steer Town.

“Investigations are still ongoing in the murder of Carlton Miller, and we are asking citizens who might have information to assist us by coming forward as we continue to work towards making St Ann a safe place,” Powell told the Sunday Observer.

The mentally ill man is in police custody.

AKERA DAVIS Sunday Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

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