Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Getting away with murder - Statistics reveal less than half of 2017 homicides cleared up

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Crime scene

More than half of the over 1,500 murders recorded so far this year remain unsolved as rampant hoodlums continue to get away with serious criminal offences.

A total of 1,562 persons were killed across the island between January 1 and last weekend, but police statistics show that 687 of those cases, or 43 per cent, have been cleared up.

The numbers were even worse for shootings, which totalled 1,421 since January 1.

However, according to the statistics, only 500 of those cases have been cleared up. Cases are classified by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as cleared up when a suspect is arrested and charged. For one high-ranking member of the JCF, the culture of 'see and blind, hear and deaf' is one of the main reasons police investigators are unable to solve more cases.

"The unavailability of supportive eyewitnesses," said the senior officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Because you can have eyewitnesses, but they don't want to give statements," the officer continued.

According to the JCF'S latest Periodic Serious Crimes Review, 429 cases of rape have been reported so far this year, with 236 cleared up, while only 349 of the 1,196 robberies reported to the police were solved. The 1,562 murders recorded since January 1 represents a 20 per cent jump when compared with the corresponding period last year when 1,292 persons were killed.

St James continues to lead all police divisions, with 317 murders, a 24 per cent increase when compared with the 255 killings that were recorded for the similar period last year. The police statistics show that five other police divisions - St Andrew South, St Catherine North and South, Westmoreland, and Clarendon - have already recorded more than 100 murders this year

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com