West accounts for one in every four murders since January
Despite more resources being pumped into security in western Jamaica, the region is continuing to grapple with its scary crime problem, as according to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) latest Serious Crimes Report for the period January 1 to February 2, 2019, the area is responsible for 24 of the 109 murders recorded islandwide this year.
Most worrying is the situation in St James, which ended a yearlong state of public emergency (SOE) last week. The parish had 10 murders, which is just two fewer than the 12 committed over the comparative period last year when Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the SOE at the insistence of jittery stakeholders.
“We are not prepared to go back to where we were prior to 2018. That is why, after meeting with senior officers of the security forces, they have assured me that the name SOE won’t be there, but all the other things that constitute the SOE will be because the good citizens of this parish need protection now more than any other time,” said Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis recently.
St James recorded 102 murders last year, nearly one-third its 2017 tally. The police division only sits behind St Catherine North and St Andrew Central, which recorded 14 and 12 murders, respectively, up to February 2.
Westmoreland, which like its neighbour St James registered more than 100 murders last year, has seven murders this year, compared to 12 for the same period in 2018.
Hanover has had five murders since 2019, compared to seven in 2018, with Trelawny, as it was last year, recording two.
“We are looking for a much better year in Hanover this year,” said the parish’s commanding officer, Superintendent Sharon Beeput. “We have smashed the main gangs. Several of the top gangsters are in prison, and we hitting the lottery scammers real hard. We had over 30 convictions last year.”