SSP McGregor says crime not rising in St James
Senior superintendent of police in charge of St James Steve McGregor is dismissing the idea that crime is on the rise in the parish despite the division recording 22 murders since the start of 2016 - three more than the corresponding period last year.
"I would not want to say crime is on the rise. It is still early days yet. We are still in the second month and we are doing what we have to do and I think we are on the right track," McGregor told The Gleaner on Friday. "We are still confident that this is going to be the best year for St James in a very long while because we are finding that the citizens are more cooperative with us."
McGregor added: "We solved 104 of the 212 murders recorded in the division last year, which is quite unprecedented because this has never happened anywhere in the country in any division. It speaks to the fact that we are getting closer to the people of St James. So we are seeing some positives that will lead to better management in the coming year, and I am overly confident that we are not going to record anywhere near the sort of murders we saw last year."
The St James crime chief pointed to a number of specific strategies the police have implemented in the fight against crime, including placing greater emphasis on community policing while, at the same time, calling for greater cooperation from social entities within the parish.
"We are finding that the citizens are more cooperative with us, and we have laid foundations with our community-safety team in the different communities because most of the murders that we got came out of disputes that could have been quelled if we had been closer to the communities where these disputes arose," said McGregor.
"There are other social groups that should come in, such as the Peace Management Initiative and the social workers. We need a lot of other groups that can help in dealing with family values, and there are a lot of parents who do not know how to parent their kids," McGregor continued. "There are a lot of social issues that are fuelling the kind of violence in our country generally and also in St James. We are engaging the groups, and a lot of them are coming on board, including the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and the churches."