Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Hanover’s Beeput holding firm against crime wave

Published:Tuesday | February 18, 2020 | 12:20 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

The marginal fall in murders in the Hanover Police Division has sparked optimism from commanding officer, Superintendent Sharon Beeput, that the gains of the state of emergency blanketing three western parishes will continue to drive down violent crime.

The parish has recorded four murders up to February 15, one fewer than the body count for the comparative period in 2019. However, Beeput told The Gleaner that her team would impose its presence in the community of Hopewell, a hotspot of violence.

“We had two murders in the parish last week, both occurring in Hopewell. We will be putting in additional resources and we will not be sanctioning any social events until we are satisfied that the community is safe for all its residents.”

While not disclosing operational strategies, Beeput said that the deployment of additional security forces, including the military, has provided ammunition to the police to push back against lawlessness.

“We want to create a situation where law-abiding citizens can feel free to go about their business without fear … . No criminal should feel safe in this parish going forward,” said Beeput, who has been driving a number of initiatives to forge a closer bond between the police and residents.

Seven people have been murdered in neighbouring St James up to February 15, six fewer than for the corresponding period in 2019.

There were a record-high 342 murders in St James in 2017, but that trend has been reversed by a state of emergency for the better part of two years.

Westmoreland has also recorded seven murders in the first 46 days of 2020, a 42 per cent drop from the 12 last year.

Three years ago, crime in western Jamaica spiralled out of control, with approximately 500 murders rocking Hanover, St James, and Westmoreland.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com