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Eight-year low for murders

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator

For the first time in eight years Jamaica's recorded murder rate has dipped below the 1,200 mark, with 1,124 people killed last year.

However things got off to a rocky start for the police in 2012, with 51 murders recorded in the 17 days since the start of the new year.

"At the beginning of the year we were about five murders per day. Now we are down to two murders per day," a senior investigator told The Gleaner yesterday.

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington is expected to shed more light on the Jamaica Constabulary Force's crime fighting success during a press conference scheduled for Thursday, but reports reaching The Gleaner are that the police have gone back to the drawing board, increasing the number of curfews and implementing proactive strategies.

According to the crime statistics obtained by The Gleaner, an average of 90 people were murdered per month last year. The worst months were July (103), August and May (102), November and December (101).

June (89), February (77) and March (73) had the lowest reported cases of homicides in 2011.

Latest incidents

In the latest murder incidents, the Constabulary Communication Network has reported that 29-year-old Michael Mullings, of Dunbars River, Westmoreland, was shot and stabbed to death at his home yesterday morning. Another man was also shot and injured in the incident.

Reports from the Savanna-la-mar Police are that, about 1 a.m., Mullings and other relatives were at home when knocking on the door awakened them. When Mullings went to investigate, the door was reportedly kicked in and a man, armed with a handgun, entered and opened fire hitting him.

The police were summoned and Mullings was found with multiple stab wounds and a single gunshot wound. Both men were taken to hospital where Mullings was pronounced dead, and the other admitted in stable condition.

A second man was killed in St James. He has been identified as 30- year-old Thion Colomathi, a salesman of Mountain View Drive, Westgate in St James.

Colomathi, the son of former People's National Party caretaker/candidate for East Central St James, was shot dead by unknown assailant/s Sunday evening in Hampton district, also in the parish.

Murder rates since 2003

2011 - 1,124

2010 - 1,442

2009 - 1,683

2008 - 1,618

2007 - 1,583

2006 - 1,340

2005 - 1,674

2004 - 1,471

2003 - 975