Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Consider method in crime fight

Published:Friday | June 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


So, murders are up in seven parishes, especially in St James (no surprise), St Ann, St Mary, Trelawny and (also no surprise) Clarendon. Nationally, however, homicides are down, carried by Kingston, St Andrew (except for Central) and remarkably, gang hotspot, St Catherine. St Catherine is the only real change on the crime front.

It seems obvious that what is working in the eastern end of the country should get urgent attention. In a recent encounter in Spanish Town, I found the grasp of the St Catherine scene held by the leadership of C-TOC (Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation) and of PMI (Peace Management Initiative) very insightful. So, my plea is for method over materials from those who know the score.

The key is social intervention, but not just any kind. Who is targeted, by whom, the specific lines of activity and the follow-through are what will determine outcome. Other-wise, the disruption of the St Catherine gangs, however well pursued by the police, will have no better effect than in West Kingston, where six years after the removal of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town are still gripped by deadly inter-gang rivalry. A fresh approach is badly needed if Jamaica is to move forward.

Method. That's how some of the two-third's share of the bi-lateral and multilateral funding from the British, Canadians and the Inter-American Development Bank that went to the Ministry of National Security in the recent budget - as against the one-third that went to the Ministry of Justice - should be spent not just on planes, boats and trucks. Then that division would not be so aggrieving, especially if the hardware acquired included body cameras for police and less lethal weapons.

Horace Levy