Tue | Oct 27, 2020

St James police optimistic about further crime reductions

Published:Wednesday | September 23, 2020 | 4:14 PM
Head of the St James Police, Superintendent Vernon Ellis -file photo

With the latest data from the police force on serious crimes in St James showing a decline in all areas when compared with 2019, cops are optimistic that this year will see an even greater reduction.

Murders have seen a 19 per cent decline, falling from 105 in 2019 to 85 up to September 19 this year.

Shootings had the smallest decline, dropping from 97 to 96 under the review period.

However, robberies have fallen by 14 per cent, moving from 54 to 40 and break-ins have gone down by 27 percent, falling from 57 to 30. 

Police commander for St James, Superintendent Vernon Ellis, said that with the parish’s 10 most wanted men at the start of the year either being dead or in custody, he is cautiously optimistic that St James could end the year with its lowest murder count in nearly two decades 

“Our top 10 criminals…people like Delano ‘Prekeh Boy’ Wilmott, Glenroy ‘Tall Man’ Hodges and Melville Ottey, Christopher ‘Plank’ Boyd and many of the gangsters linked to the Sparta Gang are either no longer with us or they are in custody.”

Noting that several gang members have fled the parish, he said that they are being tracked for apprehension.

He noted that many of the Sparta Gang members who are currently in police custody were tracked to other parts of the island and arrested. 

“We still have unfinished gang business, so I am urging those who are still out there to keep the peace because we are not going to tolerate any foolishness from them. St James is a much safer place than when I came here in 2017. That year the parish recorded a record 342 murders.”

Ellis said that in addition to dismantling gangs and arresting criminals, social outreach programmes by the police, which include summer camps in volatile communities, are seeing results with many residents now have a positive attitude to the police, resulting in greater cooperation. 

“The summer camp that we did in Salt Spring, which saw a number of children being provided with tablets and free Wi-Fi, was a resounding success and these youngsters and the community in general are now seeing the police as their partners for peace and not their enemies.” 

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