Illegal guns claim 10,300 lives over last 10 years
With the gun being the weapon of choice in the killing of 10,300 Jamaicans over the 10-year period 2005 to 2015, the Police High Command yesterday launched its Get the Guns campaign, aimed at netting significantly more than the average 600 guns seized annually by the security forces.
This death toll represents an average of 1,030 persons killed each year by illegal firearms and is approximately 75 per cent of the 13,780 murders recorded in Jamaica for the decade.
Further, an additional 9,000 Jamaicans were shot and injured over the same period, resulting in a severe burden on the country's health services.
This has also impacted thousands of families whose breadwinners could no longer support their families.
In the last 10 years, guns have also featured in the rape of approximately 1,200 women and girls.
Yesterday, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams, who rolled out the latest crime-fighting plan at his office on Old Hope Road in St Andrew, said the force would be offering greater cash incentives to persons who divulge information leading to the seizure of guns and ammunition. However, he was not willing to provide details about the sums that would be awarded.
Williams said incentives would also be offered to officers and police divisions which seize the largest number of firearms and ammunition.
The police commissioner announced increased cordons and searches across the country as part of efforts to crackdown on persons with illegal weapons.
"Guns have penetrated the length and breadth of this country and completely changed the way of life in those communities that were once quiet. We intend to deploy greater intelligence resources to the Get the Guns campaign," he said.
The police will also introduce coastal watches for towns and communities along the shoreline to stem the drugs-for-guns trade between Jamaica and Haiti.
The Police High Command said arrangements were in place to dispatch police officers to Haiti to consult with the Haitian police. The country's marine fleet will also be boosted to monitor the country's shoreline.
Private Sector Organi-sation of Jamaica CEO Dennis Chung, who endorsed the initiative, urged members of the public to support this move.
He said crime was a major disincentive to the development of the economy, and as such, every effort must be made to tackle the problem.
Chung's colleague and businessman Ferris Ziadie said private capital would shy away from countries with an illegal gun culture.