Portland still the safest parish
Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
After recording three murders in the first month of 2014, which sent shock waves throughout the police division, Portland is still by far the safest parish islandwide once again, ending the year with a single-digit murder toll.
The success in curtailing crime is as a result of the commitment and dedication shown by the men and women under the command of Superintendent Wayne Cameron, who boasts about using unconventional means with the limited resources at his disposal, in a parish where domestic incidents have accounted for six of the seven murders committed last year.
"We have done a lot of work in clearing up murders," commented Cameron. "In 2013, there were nine murders, compared to last year where we had seven murders. We have cleared up five of the seven murders recorded for 2014. I have to commend the staff at the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), who worked tirelessly."
According to Cameron, there has been a reduction in all categories of crime with the exception of aggravated assault, which is as a result of around-the-clock policing and patrols, especially in volatile areas of the parish.
Statistic provided by the police indicate that there has been a significant decrease in major crimes for 2014 including rape, down by 28 per cent; breaking, down by 14 per cent; shooting, down by 50 per cent; robbery, down by 29 per cent; larceny, down by six per cent.
Records provided by the police have indicated that from the period 2000 to 2014, the parish recorded a mere 159 murders over a 14-year period.
But while the murder rate is viewed by many as being extremely low in comparison to other parishes, including Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon, St James, and Manchester, Cameron is cautioning against complacency, as certain domestic situations, if not monitored, could result in killings.
For the first quarter of 2014, there were four murders recorded in the parish, including three in the month of January. There were two murders in the second quarter, no murder was recorded in the third quarter, and there was one murder in the last quarter of 2014.
Continuing, Cameron added: "We have been monitoring our borders and residents have been sensitised about keeping a look out for strangers who might have been displaced elsewhere and are seeking refuge in this quiet and peaceful parish. Despite the shortage of service vehicles, we continue to patrol communities at nights. We have also managed to build good relations with residents, who are now cooperating with us. "