Major crimes up in St Ann
Ocho Rios, St Ann:
Major crimes in St Ann have shown a slight increase for the period up to December 20 this year when compared to the corresponding period in 2014.
At the top of the list is murder, which is showing an increase of four over the previous year, moving from 37 to 41.
There are also increases in shooting and robbery, with shooting showing an increase of 12 (up from 33 to 45), while robbery shows a slight increase, moving from 119 to 122.
On the other hand, there has been a significant reduction in housebreaking, with 67 fewer cases being reported (down from 192 to 125).
Larceny is also down from 48 to 35. Aggravated assault and rape are also down, although figures were not readily available.
Superintendent Wayne Cameron, who took charge of St Ann on July 27, says the division is doing well despite the increase in murder.
When he took office, murders were eight above the corresponding period.
"Although we are over by four, the division is doing well where murder reduction and containment are concerned," Cameron told The Gleaner.
"Since the start of December, we have not experienced a murder in St Ann, and this is largely based on our deployment in terms of our operational activities and the consistency with which we put out our patrols, both mobile and foot."
In December 2014, there were five murders in St Ann.
One of the cases in St Ann that drew national attention was that of the missing family of four from Lime Hall, whose house was burnt.
Two persons have been charged with arson and hauled before the court, but the four remain missing.
Cameron said that although the case has not been solved, the good thing to be drawn from it is that it demonstrates that people are willing to work with the police.
"The community came together and gave the police help in every respect," he pointed out.
"Concerted effort was made by members of the community, along with the police, to locate these missing people. I am using that as an example to say the community is willing to work with the police if they are inspired by the actions of the police. People have to have confidence in the police to speak."
The Get the Guns Campaign, launched nationally in mid-September, has had some amount of success in St Ann, with five guns being recovered.
For 2016, Cameron said that the police would be relentless in their pursuit of solving crime, with the Get the Guns Campaign the main focus.
Special attention will also be focused on shootings and robberies, with the aim of minimising them.
The police will also be seeking to educate the public on how to carry their belongings when travelling so as to avoid being robbed. Exposing cell phones and other items serves to attract criminal elements, the superintendent pointed out.
"So we appeal to people to carry their cell phones and personal belongings in a better way."
The police will also be enforcing the spirit licence more vigorously and addressing complaints of loud music.
"We will increase our presence on the road," Cameron asserted.