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World Cup helped stem murders in June, expert suggests

Published:Thursday | August 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Brazil's Gabriel Jesus (left) is challenged by Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic during the group E match between Serbia and Brazil at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia, on June 27.

The World Cup, the global football showpiece event held in Russia between June and July, brought some respite for Jamaicans living at the mercy of armed criminals, one expert has suggested.

The assertion by respected psychologist Dr Aggrey Irons came yesterday as the latest Periodic Serious Crime Review, compiled by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), showed that 84 murders were recorded nationwide in June, a near 100 per cent drop when compared with the same month last year. The police recorded 161 murders in June 2017, and 114 the previous year.

This year's figures mark the lowest number of murders recorded over a one-month period since January, and June was the only month when murders dipped below 100.

According to the police statistics, a total of 144 persons were murdered in January, the highest figure for any month this year.

"One of the purposes of sports, nationally and internationally, is to divert kinetic energy into potential energy, meaning that the male testosterone is refocused. This generally decreases the temperature," Irons told The Gleaner. "So, there does seem to be a correlation."

However, his colleague, Dr Paul Wright, a sports medicine specialist, was not so sure.

Wright believes that there would have to be an examination of the murder rates during past World Cups to establish if there was a connection between the month-long tournament and the fall-off in killings.

"It could well be coincidental," he argued.

In addition, Wright said that the decrease in murders for the month of June could be the result of the zones of special operations established in Mount Salem, St James, and Denham Town in west Kingston.

But Irons insists that it was no different from the staging of the Olympic Games when national sentiments are aroused. "That is the beauty and purpose of sports," he argued.