Nearly 200 murders, but serious crime trending down
Jamaica recorded just under 200 murders in the first 74 days of this year, but statistics compiled by the police show that this is a 10 per cent dip when compared with the corresponding period last year.
In fact, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) latest Periodic Serious Crimes Review shows that up to March 15, all categories of serious crimes were on the decline.
According to the JCF data, there were 197 reported murders up to last Saturday, 21 less than was recorded over the corresponding period last year.
It also showed that rapes were down 28 per cent; shootings declined five per cent; aggravated assaults were down 33 per cent, larcenies were down 26 per cent; robberies declined 27 per cent and break-ins were down 14 per cent.
Assistant commissioner in charge of crime, Devon Watkis, said the downward trends were the result of the JCF's community policing initiative and the willingness "of the people we lead to be out there and to be proactive".
"We are fully embracing community policing, but there is a concept called proximity policing that we are pushing as one of the main tools," Watkis said.
Proximity policing, he explained, is a branch of the community policing initiative that allows the men and women of the JCF to incorporate the role of citizens in crime fighting in a more meaningful and deliberate way.
"We are getting to the young minds, those who stand available as recruits [for criminal gangs] ... . We are trying to reach these persons so that we can address the potential causes rather than wait to arrest them," Watkis added.
"We are trying to be a more friendly police force," he insisted.