Ten per cent drop in murders
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Devon Watkis, told The Gleaner recently the police and the nation on a whole are enjoying a reduction in murders of close to 10 per cent, which is the direct result of impactful policing measures.
Serious crimes have been cut in both the rural and Corporate Area divisions.
According to statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), there have been 206 reported murders in the Corporate Area as of May 24, compared with 213 in the same period last year. There have been 176 reported cases of murder in the rural area as of May 24 compared to 206 last year. Gang-related crimes have also plummeted, moving from 338 last year to 243 as of May 24 this year.
Watkis attributes the crackdown to a myriad reasons, including strategic thinking by divisional commanders and policing powers with new legislation such as making better use of existing laws. He says more frequent intelligence products and the success rate of the Major Investigation Task Force has also contributed to stemming in serious criminal activities islandwide.
He emphasised that the police are still focused on gangs with the aim of restricting and crippling their operations. "We have on record just about 200-plus gangs. What we have done is to use the framework used elsewhere to organise them based on their activities, so we have a lot of foot soldiers. The foot-soldier gangs are aplenty, but they may not be organised and consistent. Then you have another category - the second generation - that are more organised and tend to be more stable gangs," he said.
Watkis said 10 main gangs are consistently being monitored by the police "because of their national and global reach in terms of connections. Those are the ones that are able to influence activities outside of Jamaica. Gangs like the Clansman gang as we know them.
"We continue to focus on their activities and restrict them in the spaces with deployment in hot spots so they are not able to move as freely as they would have in normal instances, and that would curtail their abilities to influence," he said.