St Catherine tops country in abductions
On average, two children were abducted every five days in Jamaica between 2021 and 2022, and most of these abductions took place in St Catherine, where females continue to be the preferred prey, police data has revealed. In fact, females accounted...
On average, two children were abducted every five days in Jamaica between 2021 and 2022, and most of these abductions took place in St Catherine, where females continue to be the preferred prey, police data has revealed.
In fact, females accounted for 93 per cent of abductions, most of which occurred on Wednesdays and Fridays, and usually in May, reads an analysis that forms part of a national security study by the Northern Caribbean University and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Abduction is the process of taking someone against their will and, in some cases, victims are released or manage to escape shortly after capture, cops say. Other times, however, they end up on missing persons lists or dubbed ‘kidnapped’ if a ransom is requested. High-profile kidnappings are turned over to the police’s Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Unit.
There were some 228 abductions over the two years, with the majority, 144, occurring in 2021. There was a 42 per cent reduction in 2022.
St Catherine South, which encompasses communities in Portmore and Old Harbour, recorded 14 per cent (20 cases) and 13 per cent (11) of the abductions in 2021 and 2022, respectively, while St Catherine North had 16 cases in 2021 and 11 in 2022.
Manchester, Clarendon and St Andrew South rounded off the top-five police divisions with abduction cases, with a total of 17, 18, and 20, respectively, in the two years combined.
The Portland (four) and Kingston Central (five) divisions recorded the fewest cases.
In the two years combined, 123 people between the ages of 10 and 19 were abducted; 62 victims were between 20 and 29 years, and 16 were between the ages of 30 and 39. Five children younger than nine years old were abducted while eight persons over the age of 60 were victims.
Central Village, George Lee Boulevard near Bridgeport High School, Port Henderson Road, sections of Gregory Park, Newlands, Greater Portmore, and Hellshire were among areas where persons were snatched in St Catherine South.
In St Catherine North, Hopedale in Spanish Town, the vicinity of G.C. Foster College, Darling Street, inside the New Harbour Village housing scheme, St John’s Heights, Byndloss, and several locations in Linstead were among those listed.
Just last week, mechanic Robert Fowler pleaded guilty to the abduction and murder of 20-year-old accounting clerk Khanice Jackson two years ago. He is to be sentenced on April 27.
Police sources confided that at least one cop was nearly charged with abduction when he reportedly turned off the known route while taking home a female. The matter was quickly resolved and no official charges were made.
On Thursday, Senior Superintendent Christopher Phillips, the commander of St Catherine South, said cops have noticed a “freestyling” by criminals, who lurk around looking for opportunities.
He could not speak on the findings of the study, but said that, of the 33 persons reported missing this year, only four are still to be found.
“Last year, we saw where some youngsters were being lured by predators through the use of social media platforms. Parents must monitor those gadgets and know with whom their children are building friendships,” the senior cop advised.
Senior Superintendent Howard Chambers explained that many cases of abduction are linked to instances of rape in his St Catherine North jurisdiction. Some reports turn out to be fake, he said.
“Some of the times, after investigations, we find out that some are false. They were staged by the persons themselves,” he said, adding that true cases usually involve taxi operators turning off with unsuspecting women or children.
“Many of them are not hostages for any long time, and sometimes it is victims themselves that turn up. So a taxi man will be taking home a woman and he drives past her stop and tries to rape her. In that case, that taximan would be charged with abduction and rape,” he said.
“As it is, we just have to keep advising citizens to ensure that family members are advised as to where they are going, utilise technology by giving somebody their GPS [location] so that they can know if they have changed route or location,” he said.
“That will give the police some sense of direction in event of tracking and the provision of quick response. We also encourage females to travel in groups,” said Chambers.