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35 per cent more guns seized since start of year

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones
Residents of Denham Town ask a Jamaica Defence Force soldier questions about the zone of special operation established in their community yesterday.

The Ministry of National Security is reporting a 35 per cent increase in the number of illegal firearms removed from the nation's streets up to October 17, compared to the same period last year.

A total of 499 illegal weapons were collected over the period last year, while 674 have been collected so far this year.

With regard to illegal ammunition, 7,238 rounds had been seized up to October 17, 2016, while 15,667 rounds were seized during the corresponding period this year.

Minister of National Security Robert Montague has credited the increased gun and ammunition haul to a number of initiatives that have been undertaken in support of the zone of special operations, including the repackaged and relaunched Get the Guns Campaign.

Montague was addressing a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister to announce Denham Town in west Kingston as the second zone of special operations. 

The Get the Guns Campaign has seen rewards of $150,000, $100,000 and $75,000 being offered for information leading to the recovery of rifles, pistols and revolvers, respectively.

Montague also revealed that the $1-million reward being offered for information resulting in the capture of fugitives has also resulted in the demise of several of the country's most dangerous criminals.

"The Ministry of National Security, in support of the zone of special operations, has undertaken a number of initiatives that have not only increased citizens' safety and security within the zones but across the entire Jamaica," Montague said.

"We have invested heavily in the intelligence network. This investment has been a long time in coming, as the infrastructure within the intelligence network was decaying and also non-existent in some aspects. We have increased the investment in the mobility and equipment of both the Jamaica Constabulary, as well as the Jamaica Defence Force."

Montague further revealed that some 30 vehicles have been specifically acquired for use in the zones, which includes trucks, buses, pickups and jeeps, while some vehicles required within the zones have also been repaired.

The ministry has also partnered with an NGO to launch a victim support fund.