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Slashing murders

Published:Saturday | December 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Top cop says plan to significantly cut homicide rate on track

Police Commissioner Owen Ellington has said Jamaica is keeping pace on the road to slashing its murder rate to 12 per 100,000 by 2017.

This would place Jamaica among some of the countries with the lowest murder rates worldwide.

In 2009, the country's murder rate of 62 per 100,000 was among the highest in the world at the time.

According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the rate fell to 52 per 100,000 in 2010 then to 42 per 100,000 last year.

Ellington said despite the expected "marginal reduction" in murders and other serious crimes this year, the JCF's plan to reduce the murder rate to 12 per 100,000 in five years was still on track.

"I am convinced that if this trend were to continue, then reaching the targeted murder rate is achievable," the commissioner wrote in his annual Christmas message to the men and women under his command.

He singled out the divisions of St Catherine North and South, St Thomas, St Mary, Portland, St James and St Elizabeth, saying the reduction in murders and other serious crimes across these divisions has served as the main catalyst for the overall decreases this year.

"The formulae of their successes must be used as a template by others to achieve better results in the coming year," he suggested.

Seeking to warn against complacency, Ellington said the JCF is at a point where it must return to the drawing board to craft strategies that will yield further gains.

"Our strategies must be bold game-changers, as anything less will continue to yield marginal reductions or maintenance of the current figures," he reasoned.