There was a 50 per cent reduction in murders in St. James for the last quarter of 2012, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has announced.
He attributed this decrease to the outrage of citizens over the rape of five females in Irwin last year, and vital information given to the police on wrongdoers by the citizens.
Delivering the keynote address at the Granville Crime Prevention Summit, held at the Sunset Beach Resort and Spa, on January 31, the Minister said that a real opportunity presents itself now in Jamaica, and particularly in St. James, for citizens to expose criminal activities in their communities.
“I am convinced that the only way we are going to get a sustainable solution to crime and security problems in this country, is if every citizen in every community gets fully engaged in becoming part of the solution,” the Minister told the audience.
He noted that during the last three months of 2012, St. James saw great collaboration between citizens and the police, after scores of persons converged in Sam Sharpe Square to publicly register their stance against criminal activities, followed by crucial information to the police.
“Since that period there has been a 50 per cent reduction in murders in St. James. It shows me that you have to combine police action with citizens’ commitment to get the kind of dramatic results that we need to have, not just in St. James, but in the entire Jamaica. Citizens’ outrage does have an impact,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bunting reiterated that his plans to increase the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) by an additional 5,000 members will not be shelved, as with increased police presence in communities, with a service approach, “citizens feel safer, it is a deterrent to crime, and it encourages citizens to come forward and share information with the police.”
“Violence stuns development; it affects investor confidence, it increases the cost of doing business, and it erodes the quality of life in the communities,” the Minister argued.
Also taking part in the summit were Member of Parliament for West Central St. James and State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams; community and church leaders, and representatives from the University of the West Indies, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, and State agencies.
The Granville Crime Prevention Summit was held to look at alternative livelihoods and entrepreneurship, and infrastructure development for communities in the area.