Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Police efforts ease fears in St Catherine

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Deputy Superintendent of Police Hector Cummings.
Handcart vendors are part of the landscape in Spanish Town.

A number of initiatives implemented by the St Catherine North division to curtail crime and violence have given police officers some hope that fear among residents has been quelled.

Officer in charge of administration, Deputy Superintendent of Police Hector Cummings, said that while crime continues to be a major concern for the country, the division is working strategically to boost citizen confidence and reduce fear.

"We have completed the recent year, which saw an increase in crime, particularly murders, and with respect to this year, we have seen some amount of crime. However, I must point out that overall, there is indeed a reduction (in the parish). We still have some concerns at this stage, especially with the murder figure. From early, we would have brought into play certain initiatives to reduce the figure and to lend confidence to the general populace," he told a Gleaner Municipal Corporation Forum at the Social Development Commission's Offices in the parish.

"The initiatives are working. There is some sort of increase in major crimes, however, I believe some strides are being made. It is evident in some areas that persons are indeed concerned. (However) we make deliberate efforts to minimise on this fear of crime, and so we believe that through our community efforts and outreach, this fear of crime is indeed on the decline. Having been on the ground, though persons have concerns, they are not as fearful," he continued.

This view, however, was not shared by Bishop Junior Headlam, pastor of the Old Harbour Church of God of Prophecy, who pointed to the community of Willowdene in Spanish Town, indicating that fear is rife among citizens.

"First of all, crime is a very big issue, and there is a great deal of fear among people. If I should just deal with one community, which is Willowdene, the people in that community are woefully frightened of the level of crime that is taking place," he told The Gleaner.

"Unattached youths is another huge problem. There are too many persons who have nothing to do. There is a real need for massive interventions to deal with issues in the general Spanish Town area," he charged.