2014 could record lowest murder figure in 11 years
Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams on Wednesday gave a morale-boosting pep talk to scores of rank-and-file members of the Kingston East and Kingston Central police divisions.
Williams urged the men and women under his command, some of whom have been tainted by allegations of human-rights abuses in the past, to be diligent in performing their duties and to be courteous to the public.
"I gave them some words of encouragement and instructions to observe human rights, and I expect they will do what I said," Williams told The Gleaner shortly after the meeting at the Kingston Central Divisional Headquarters.
While declining to comment on the country's latest crime statistics, he stressed that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) was "very, very close on meeting the targets" set out for this year. According to the commissioner, should the murder figure dip below the 1,000 mark, it would be recorded as the lowest over the past 11 years.
Up to last weekend, the JCF Periodic Serious and Violent Crimes Review indicated that all major crimes continued to trend downwards. The murder toll stood at 926, compared to 1,101 for the corresponding period last year; shooting was 1,014 incidents, as against 1,159 in 2013; rape was 593, down from 757; while aggravated assault was 610, a reduction of 137 when compared with the corresponding 2013 figures.
Seventy-nine persons were reportedly murdered last month.
Of the 926 murders reported up to November 29, a total of 557 of these killings were categorised as gang-related, 292 were criminal-related (not gang-related), domestic violence accounted for 48, mob killing 10, while the motives for another 19 are not yet established. The gun continues to be the most popular murder weapon of choice. It was used in at least 656 of the reported cases so far this year.
In a brief interview with The Gleaner on Wednesday, Williams declined to disclose how he plans to tackle crime next year.
"Our plans are well devised for next year, but my focus is on this year, as we try to make members of the public much safer," he said.