Wed | Aug 23, 2017

MoBay to get 80 more cops for Christmas

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
McKenzie

The streets of Montego Bay should be much safer this Christmas season as the St James police hierarchy has announced that 80 new police personnel are to being deployed to the streets of the city to bolster patrols and monitor all movements.

Speaking at a press conference at the Area One police headquarters, in Montego Bay, on Monday, Deputy Superintendent Gary McKenzie, the officer in charge of operations in St James, outlined the police's plans to make Montego Bay safe for Christmas.

"The festive season brings a lot of traffic and a lot of commercial activities," said McKenzie. "We have strategised and are prepared, and we are happy to say that we are in receipt of 80 new police officers that will be on our streets."

"In addition, administrative work will be scaled down, and so we will have more persons (senior officers) on the road. We will have more beats, we will have more patrols, and we will ensure that all citizens, to include visitors (tourists), are able to safely traverse the roads in Montego Bay, and in St James as a whole," stated McKenzie.

The conference was called to announce the capture of one of St James' most wanted men; as well as to provide an update on the activities of the St James police in their efforts to curb lawlessness in the parish

St James, which has had the dubious distinction of being the nation's 'murder capital' over the last five years, has had a record 239 murders since the start of the year, which makes 2016 the bloodiest year in the parish's history. The previous record of 212 was established in 2015.

While acknowledging that murders and shootings are at intolerable levels, McKenzie said the other serious crimes are trending down.

"Most of the other serious crimes in St James have gone down. In fact, murders and shootings are probably the only ones that are at a level that is unacceptable, but generally speaking, serious crimes are down in St James," said McKenzie "Over the past two months, we have seen a slowing down of the murder rate, and that is because of the intensive work that is being done by the police."

"We have encountered a lot of citizens who are very concerned, and are doing some work with the police. Our intelligence, gathering has improved immensely, and we continue to intensify that as we go forward," continued McKenzie.

"We are very optimistic that once we continue on the trend that has been followed for the past two months or so, we can get murders and shootings down."

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com