A sharp decline in murders and shootings across hot-spot communities in St Catherine between January and last weekend has led to a slight decrease in major crimes nationwide over the same period.
The latest police statistics, a copy of which was obtained by The Gleaner, revealed that murders are down two per cent nationally when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Up to last Saturday, the police say 991 murders were reported, 18 less than was recorded for the corresponding period last year.
The statistics also show that between January 1 and last Saturday, shootings fell by nine per cent nationally, robberies declined by 13 per cent and break-ins declined by 12 per cent.
In the St Catherine North Police Division, which takes in the volatile Spanish Town area, there was a 32 per cent drop in murders, the largest decrease of all divisions nationwide.
St Catherine North statistics
According to the latest crime statistics prepared by the police, the St Catherine North Division recorded 105 homicides between January 1 and last weekend, 49 less than was reported for the corresponding period last year.
The division also recorded 103 cases of shooting, a 31 per cent decline when compared to the number recorded for the corresponding period last year.
However, the division has seen a 30 per cent hike in break-ins and a 12 per cent increase in robberies over the nearly 11-month period.
Senior Superintendent Anthony Castelle, who heads the St Catherine North Police, said the successes were due to a number of strategies centred mainly around increasing their presence in several communities.
"Targeting gangs and gang members, taking in the criminals and arresting them with evidence, setting up outposts and putting police in areas where the problems are," Castelle said of some of the strategies employed.
In the St Catherine South Division, 93 murders were recorded over the period, an 18 per cent drop when compared to last year.
According to the statistics, shootings were also down 27 per cent, robberies declined by 42 per cent and break-ins tumbled by 56 per cent.