Nineteen safe communities by year end ... says McGregor, as murders near 1,300
Assistant Commissioner of Police Steve McGregor, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Community Safety and Security Branch, has outlined a series of measures law enforcement will be implementing to strengthen community safety in the face of the country's increasing murder rate.
McGregor was addressing a joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights and the Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal late last week.
Official police figures reveal that up to last Saturday, 1,265 people had been murdered this year, up from 997 for the corresponding period last year,.
This already surpasses the 1,207 murders committed for all of 2016.
The increase has come despite a drastic improvement in illegal-gun recoveries by the security forces, which McGregor says should close at more than 1,000 firearms by year end. More than 700 have already been seized.
McGregor said the measures will be implemented in select communities across the country's police divisions, as the police aim to create 19 safe communities by the end of the year.
"The first intention is to create 19 safe communities in the divisions, because the idea is that we can't change all at the same time," he said.
The measures will include implementing curfews for children 17 years and under; establishing safe school zones; and introducing a mentorship programme to supplement what he describes as poor parenting in the affected communities.
"It's (the curfew) not a big-stick approach, where the police will be driving around and taking kids off the street. We will select monitors from within the communities, and these monitors will be the first-responders to these deviant kids," he said.