Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Light on violence | Guns still blazing!

Published:Friday | April 14, 2017 | 4:00 AMSyranno Baines
Ealan Powell, assistant commissioner of police, at the Light On Violence Special Gleaner Crime Forum held at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St Andrew on Wednesday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of crime, Ealan Powell, said there has not been a decrease in the propensity to use firearms in acts of violence, even with the ‘Get the Guns Campaign’ seizing over 1,000 illegal firearms since being launched in September 2015.

Speaking at a Gleaner Light On Violence Special Crime Forum on Wednesday at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St Andrew, Powell stated that while there has been a noticeable decrease in gang formation over the years, the police have still not been able to stem the flow of guns in criminal circles.

“There are many active guns that we know of that have not come into the hands of the police but are still very active out there, committing crimes all over the country,” said Powell. “Since the start of the year, we’ve already seized 167 guns but we continue to find more all over the place.”

Noting that guns aren’t manufactured in Jamaica, Powell added that most of the legitimate ports were fairly secured but the many other points of entry make it increasingly difficult to comprehensively police the borders.

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He expressed optimism that the two Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard patrol ships acquired in February would have some measure of success as it relates to intercepting guns at points of entry.

In relation to resources required to curb other acts of criminality, Powell said the Jamaica Constabulary Force would need to quicken the pace at which it acquires the necessary technology.

“Organised criminals are way ahead of us as far as technology is concerned. We’re far more equipped currently than we were ten years ago, but the truth is, technology changes rapidly and we’re off pace,” said the assistant commissioner.

Powell made notable mention of an online database detailing wanted persons for violent crimes being active by end of April.

Since the start of the year, 365 murders have been committed compared to 305 for the corresponding period last year. 

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com