Junction is virtually crime free
While crime is a concern for many townships across the island, residents of Junction in South East St Elizabeth are contending that, except for the occasional domestic dispute and break-in, the bustling farming community is crime-free.
"When I am in Junction, I feel safe," said Richard Parchment, the south east St Elizabeth member of parliament, while speaking at last week Thursday's 'Job Creation, Investment and Growth Forum in Junction.
"Based on the latest statistic, what we have been seeing is that all major crimes are down significantly.
"Over the last year, apart from praedial larceny, you will have the occasional break-ins. That apart, Junction is an absolute paradise," added Parchment, a first-term member of parliament.
Located on the lower south-eastern hills of the bread basket parish, Junction is inhabited by more than 6,000 people, most of whom revel in the peace and tranquility on offer in the community.
"All we ask of the police is to enforce border control, (but) we have no major incidents here," said president of the St Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Howard Hendricks, a renowned entertainment promoter in the area.
"We don't have a migratory situation at the moment, and when a stranger comes into the town, we will know that it is a stranger, because we live good with one another and we want to demonstrate to other communities that everyone can live and work together to create a comfortable and safe environment," said Hendricks.
a level of comfort
According to Stephanie Lewis-Brown, research coordinator for the Social Development Commission in St Elizabeth, surveys carried out among the residents revealed a level of comfort with the peaceful character of the town.
"When we did our survey on Junction, nearly 90 per cent of the people said that they feel safe. In fact, our data confirm that, crimes (in Junction) are mostly related to break-ins," said Lewis-Brown.
Parchment noted that, at one time, in the not too distant past, there was a spike in crime and, upon investigation, it was discovered that the perpetrators were men from Clarendon, who were coming into the area to visit bartender girlfriends who had secured employment in the area.
"We gradually moved away from employing the ladies from Clarendon and, once they were no longer in the area, the problem went away," said Parchment.
While efforts to get the police's crime statistics for Junction and the wider south-east St Elizabeth were unsuccessful, a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, did confirm that Junction was all but crime-free.
"Yes, break-ins are still taking place and a few domestic disputes, but that apart, we are crime-free." The lawman said. "If we could replicate what is happening in Junction across Jamaica, we would have a lovely Jamaica."