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Senior cop says St James, Clarendon, St Catherine most difficult parishes to manage

Published:Wednesday | April 22, 2015 | 4:00 AMGlenroy Sinclair

While Jamaica's murder toll soars, Clarendon, St James and St Catherine continue to be the toughest parishes to police.

This is according to the head of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), Assistant Commissioner Ealan Powell, who further stressed that some of this terrain is not easy to manage.

"In January, we started badly. The major contributor to the murder figures for the month was Spanish Town (St Catherine), which has settled down a bit. But the three most difficult parishes to manage are St James, St Catherine and Clarendon. Kingston has settled down tremendously over the years, but those three parishes have become really difficult," Powell disclosed.

He said part of the problem was the migration of criminals. While the police have been able to dismantle some of the existing gangs, Powell said the syndicates are sometimes splintered and displaced hoodlums go elsewhere and start all over again.

"For the month of March, we have had five double murders and a quadruple killing in St James. That is frightening," said Powell.

Up to last Friday, 52 murders were reported in St James, while St Catherine has accounted for more than 60 and Clarendon above 30.

The senior officer lamented that the traditional crime zones - the Corporate Area, Clarendon, St Catherine and St James - are responsible for a significant number of gang-related murders.

More than 300 persons have been murdered since the start of the year.

According to Powell, though the figures are unacceptable, his team of crime fighters has worked hard to reduce the homicide rate in some parts of the island.

"Right now, we have a slight increase, but I believe by the end of the year, we are likely to see a significant reduction," said Powell.

He said this was possible because the police have stepped up operations in quite a number of communities, better preparing case files to secure more convictions by relying on greater levels of scientific evidence.