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JCF: Western murders dip since SOE

Published:Monday | July 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is claiming success since the April 30 implementation of a state of emergency (SOE) in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, touting a steady decline in the number of reported murders in the western parishes.


In a statement yesterday, the JCF said that, as at July 12, Westmoreland had recorded a 34 per cent reduction or 26 fewer murders compared to last year, while Hanover had seen a 33 per cent decrease (12 fewer murders).


"St James, despite recording an increase in murders, has had a significant slowing of murders compared to the first quarter of this year before the launch of the SOE," the constabulary said.


The JCF report came just half an hour after Opposition Spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson issued a demand that the Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson outline what plans the constabulary had for addressing crime once the current era of states of emergency come to an end.


The revelation that murders had decreased so significantly was in stark contrast to a claim in a People's National Party release, in which Jackson's demand was included, that criminals were no longer fazed or deterred by the presence of the military and/or special police units.


The JCF noted that when the SOE was announced in April, the murder figures for Westmoreland stood at 43, Hanover at 14 and St James at 51. Since then, Westmoreland recorded eight murders, Hanover four and St James 22 (including two since July 12).


"Additionally, as the security forces continue with operational activities in these parishes, major public safety initiatives have been implemented, with the support and collaboration of other critical stakeholders, to restore and maintain public order and safety," the JCF said in what appeared to be at least an initial response to Jackson's call for a plan outside of the SOE.