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Murders spike in St James - Western parish sees increase in killings despite dip in national figures

Published:Wednesday | June 8, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
National Security Minister Robert Montague: It is inescapable that the yeoman efforts of the (police) force, with limited resources, has finally begun to bear fruits.

With less than six months gone in the year, the parish of St James has already recorded more than 100 murders, police statistics have revealed.

Following a year when the parish saw more than 210 murders, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) latest Periodic Serious and Violent Crime Review shows that 103 persons have been reported killed in St James between January 1 and last weekend.

This is a 27 per cent jump when compared with the 81 murders recorded in St James over the corresponding period last year.

This development comes nearly one year after more than 200 additional police personnel were deployed to the parish to stem the rising crime rate.

According to the JCF statistics, St James is one of seven police divisions that have reported increased murders so far this year. The others are St Ann, which saw a 39 per cent jump; St Mary, which reported a 25 per cent increase; Clarendon, which had a 23 per cent jump; Trelawny, which recorded a 13 per cent increase; St Andrew Central, which had a four per cent increase; and Westmoreland, which recorded a three per cent increase.

Despite this, the data show that there has been a two per cent decline nationally in the number of persons reported killed.

It shows that 492 murders have been recorded across all 19 police divisions, 10 fewer than the 502 recorded for the corresponding period last year.

Except for shootings, which inched up by five per cent, the JCF statistics also show that all other categories of serious and violent crime have decreased by between 18 and 40 per cent.

National Security Minister Robert Montague said Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams and his team should be credited for the fall-off in serious crimes but cautioned against complacency.

"It is inescapable that the yeoman efforts of the force, with limited resources, have finally begun to bear fruit. It's early days, and much more needs to be done. And the commissioner and his team will now renew their efforts in making Jamaica the preferred place to work, invest, live, and retire," Montague told The Gleaner yesterday.

In addition, he said all Jamaicans who have invested in law and order by giving up some of their civil liberties and cooperating with law-enforcement agencies are now seeing a return on their investment.

A breakdown of the JCF statistics shows that 192 murders were recorded in the Corporate Area and St Catherine between January 1 and last weekend, a 19 per cent drop when compared with the 236 murders recorded for the similar period last year.

However, the data show that murders have spiked in other rural parishes, jumping 13 per cent from 266 last year to 300 over the near six-month period this year.