Fri | Dec 3, 2021

Letter of the Day | Fighting crime is everybody’s business

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Jamaica has the most churches per square mile, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and has a people who, in the main, believe in the existence of God. Incredulously, it is also the country with the highest homicide rate in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Crime-fighting anywhere in the world is not a one-man’s job or a lone government approach, it requires instead a unified, all hands-on deck, firm stand. It is not for a lack of strong, insightful and proactive management of the crime portfolio that has got us to this point. In fact, the Government of Jamaica has been steadfast in its efforts and actions to strengthen the national security apparatus.

A string of investments has been undertaken to upgrade several existing police stations and, in some cases, reconstruct others. Additionally, millions of dollars are being spent to leverage technological solutions in crime-fighting. These are being complemented by upgrading the fleet of police vehicles to enhance the mobility and responsiveness of the police.

FORCE FOR GOOD

Through an improved policy mechanism, the Ministry of National Security has embarked on the wholesome transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) into a Force for Good.

Although there are positive changes seen through the effective work of members of the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force, bringing charges against several gang bangers, disrupting the gangs, creating a safe space for good, law-abiding citizens to live and enjoy their families, there is still the worrisome matter of a murder rate that runs counter to our established Christian and religious values.

Data from the JCF Statistical Unit, between January 1, 2019 and April 6, 2021, showed, generally, major crimes are trending downward. This is positive news.

The 10 communities with the highest incidents of murder over that period are: Trench Town (83), Whitfield Town (61), Montego Bay Business District (57), Central downtown Kingston (53), Central Village (50). They are followed by Olympic Gardens (41), Old Harbour (41), Franklyn Town (41), Tivoli Gardens (39) and Delacree Pen (39).

In terms of shootings for the same period, Trench Town recorded 96, with Franklyn Town next (59), followed by Delacree Pen (57), Whitfield Town (52) and Tivoli Gardens (47). Olympic Gardens (46), Central Village (44), Parade Gardens (38), Old Harbour (34) and the Savanna-la-Mar business district (33) round out communities with the highest reported incidents of shooting over the period.

The Government of Jamaica and the JCF remain fully invested in crime-fighting efforts and endeavour to add further investment and other necessary resources, including manpower. We must acknowledge that we are in this together. We have a unique role to play in ridding our communities of those who perpetrate crime and violence and those who bring notoriety upon our family’s good name.

All crimes, in particular murder and shooting, are a blight against the decency and goodness in us as Jamaicans. We must learn to disagree without turning to violence to settle our differences. It is full time we return to being a neighbourly and caring people.

In this moment, we need to look inward and staunchly reject that which is bad, indecent and cruel. Let us be sincere, kind and helpful. If it’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us is that we are indeed our brothers’ keeper and, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, let us come together and Liv Gud.

PAUL CLARKE

Communication Advisor

Ministry of National Security,

paul.clarke@mns.gov.jm