Hanover’s murder count nearing last year’s record
With just over two weeks to go in the year, concern is high in the parish of Hanover with respect to the number of murders that are being committed across that parish. Police statistics show that since the start of 2016, 47 have been committed in the parish, just a mere 12 short of the record 59 murders committed last year.
Superintendent Arthel Colley, the officer in charge of the Hanover Police Division, told The Gleaner that the parish is doing well in terms of serious crimes, but that they had a problem with the murders, shootings and gang-related violence.
"We have exceeded the target over last year as it relates to shootings, but we are doing well as it relates to the reduction of serious crimes in the division," Colley said. He said that the clear-up rate for serious crimes was at 62 per cent
INCREASE IN GANG VIOLENCE
While he was prepared to take comfort in the reduction in some of the serious crimes, the superintendent was emphatic that he was uncomfortable with the number of shootings and murders, which he blames on the members of the four main gangs operating in the division.
"We were doing quite well up to August. However, during September [and] up to October the division experienced an increase in gang violence," he said, and named the four main gangs as the One Voice, operating in Greenland; One Link in Elgin Town; Hundred Rounds in Green Island; and the Ants Nest in Logwood.
The superintendent said the shootings, which were mostly acts of reprisal, started after the leader of the One Link gang was killed while on his way home from a football match. That killing took place in the Greenland area, which is considered One Voice turf.
"As a result, we had some reprisal murders out of that, and in turn, the gang leader for the One Voice was also killed. Since then, the situation became unstable as it relates to gang violence," said Colley.
The superintendent further stated that quite a number of persons have been arrested in connection with the various murders, adding that a decrease in the number of murders has taken place since.
"I understand why the citizens, especially in Lucea, have some concerns about violence surrounding that town. What I can assure them is that we will be pulling out all the stops in order to curtail any form of violence over the holiday season," said Colley. "The military, they are giving us the necessary assistance that we are asking for, and so they will be out there during the festive season, doing patrols with us, cordon and search, doing vehicle checkpoint operations and other operations, in order to make the holiday safer."
The superintendent also stated that some targeted raids will be carried out and called for the cooperation of persons who will be inconvenienced. He said no permits will be granted for public events in some communities.