700 murders, but stats on the decline
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA WAS yesterday on the verge of recording its 700th murder this year, but police statistics show that this is a significant reduction when compared with last year.
According to the latest Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Periodic Serious and Violent Crime Review, 699 people were reported killed up to Sunday, 125, or 15 per cent, fewer than the 824 murders recorded for the corresponding period last year.
In May, murders were nine per cent below the number recorded for the first four months of last year.
The fall-off in murders is in line with the across-the-board reduction in all other categories of serious crimes between January 1 and last weekend.
The JCF data show that shootings fell nine per cent; rapes dropped 23 per cent; robberies declined 20 per cent; larcenies fell 19 per cent; aggravated assaults decreased 18 per cent and break-ins fell two per cent.
Police killings down
It also shows that police fatal shootings - a controversial issue for years - was almost slashed in half, with 88 reported cases so far this year.
Some 158 persons were reported killed by the police over the corresponding period last year.
Despite all the positive signs, the lingering problem of the JCF's paltry clear-up rate persisted as, according to the statistics, only 299 of the 699 murders have been solved.
Of the 789 shootings, 259 have been solved, while 254 of the 465 rapes have been solved.
A breakdown of the JCF data shows that all but three of the 19 police divisions nationwide saw a decrease in murders and rapes. The Hanover, St Ann and Kingston Central divisions were the ones that recorded increases ranging from nine to 19 per cent.
In May, eight police divisions reported an increase in murders.
The six murders reported in Portland were the fewest for any division.
According to the data, 520 of all the murders recorded so far this year were in Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon and St James.