Crime down in Negril
... But promoter says clamp down on entertainment could spark an increase
With the police taking a stringent no-nonsense approach to the
Noise Abatement Act
, promoters are of the view that unless a compromise is found, Negril's entertainment industry could become unappealing to those who matter most - the tourists.
"Safety is the key," said Deputy Superintendent Egbert Parkins, officer in charge of the Negril Police Station, as he explained that he was simply carrying out his duties as a police officer when he monitored the volumes at which music was being played in Negril.
While emphasising that "Negril is the safest place in Jamaica", promoter Clive 'Kubba' Pringle is warning that there was no guarantee that the resort town would remain secure without entertainment.
"If you stop the entertainment, crime is going to go up," Pringle said in his contribution to The Gleaner Editors' Forum at the Seastar Inn in Negril, on Wednesday.
Despite Pringle's ominous warning, crime in Negril is on the decrease.
According to a report from Superintendent Dezeita Taylor, head of the Westmoreland Police Division, crime was trending down in the parish.
During a Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce meeting last Thursday, Supt Taylor said all major crimes were down, except for break-ins.
Statistics for the period January 1 to February 18 show nine murders compared to 13 for the same period for last year. Shootings, robberies and rapes declined significantly this year but break-ins increased to 16, compared to nine in 2009.
Carelessness of owners
The break-ins, Supt Taylor said, occurred mostly in the Negril area adding that the carelessness of owners accounted for a large part of the statistic.
She explained that in many cases, entrances to premises were left open or inadequate methods were used to lock doors.
The officer said that the reduction of crime is due to increased police patrols and community support.
According to Taylor, there is support from the Area One Police Division as a highway patrol unit from St James visits the parish daily to assist the local traffic cops. She also said that steps had been taken to dismantle gangs, especially in Savanna-la-Mar, and several persons of interests had already been arrested.