Peaceful start to 2018 in Hanover
If the first 12 hours of 2018 are anything to go by, then the parish of Hanover is in for a relatively peaceful year compared to 2017. With no murders on New Year's Day, residents of the parish welcomed a quiet beginning to 2018 as, at a similar period in 2017, two murders had already been committed in the parish. That trend kept up throughout that year, with the parish ending 2017 with a record 60 murders in comparison to 53 for 2016, and 59 for 2015.
Hanover, once known as the safest parish in the island because of its low crime rate, has also experienced great human resource displacement in 2017, as a result of numerous persons being maimed and sent to hospital because of criminal activities.
Superintendent of Police Sharon Beeput, who is in charge of the parish, had vowed to curtail the criminal activities taking place in the parish when she was first assigned to the division in January 2017.
Residents of the parish are now saying that Beeput's programmes and policies which have been put in place since her arrival are now bearing fruit, as expectations are high that 2018 will see a reduction in crime, especially murders, in the parish.
Several of the violence producers of the parish are behind bars, while some have been killed in confrontations with the police during the year. The police have identified some four main gangs in the parish, which they say they are working relentlessly to dismantle.
Custos of Hanover Dr David Stair, while expressing joy that the year has started on a positive note, told The Gleaner: "I hope and pray that it will continue in this way, and that the residents of the parish have seen the light."
Stair expressed the view that the criminal elements of the country are behaving like actors on a movie set, acting out what they are devouring daily at the cinema.
"The present crime situation is going to take some very unorthodox methods to completely control," he argued, adding that the people in authority will have to start thinking outside of the box.
He pleaded for all law-abiding citizens of the country to be their brothers' keepers, and look out for each other.