- The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has launched its latest crime fighting initiative, designed to reduce the number of guns available for use in murders across the island.
- Dubbed ‘Get the Guns Campaign’, it aims to intercept illegal guns entering the island’s shores and seize them from criminals.
- The campaign will feature a reward scheme to encourage members of the public to provide information which will systematically reduce the number of guns used in murders.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has launched its latest crime fighting initiative, designed to reduce the number of guns available for use in murders across the island.
Dubbed ‘Get the Guns Campaign’, it aims to intercept illegal guns entering the island’s shores and seize them from criminals.
The campaign will feature a reward scheme to encourage members of the public to provide information which will systematically reduce the number of guns used in murders.
Providing details on the initiative, Commissioner of Police, Dr. Carl Williams, said the initiative forms part of strategies being implemented by the JCF, which are aimed at reducing the surge of murders, and should result in “benefits during the last six months of the year.”
The Commissioner was speaking at a press conference, held at his Old Hope offices in Kingston, on July 6.
“Guns account for 80 per cent of all murders, in Area One alone, it is 87 per cent and in St. James, it is 90 per cent and we are witnessing an alarming increase in the use of illegal firearms in all kinds of conflicts, including domestic conflicts,” he said.
He encouraged Jamaicans to support the police in their crime fighting initiatives and rid the country of illegal guns. “This campaign is going to enlist the support of all Jamaicans through a reward scheme. We are going to be giving rewards to members of the public who assist the police with information to seize guns,” he said.
The Commissioner said the JCF will use all the analytical capabilities available and intelligence at their disposal, to “zero in on the guns.”
“There are several guns out there that are being used in multiple murders; we have an idea of those and we are going to be targeting them,” he noted.
The Commissioner said the JCF will be very confidential with the information received. “We will do it in such a way that they can communicate with us without leaving any trace that they communicated with the police. We will set up hotlines…,” he pointed out.
Dr. Williams said that apart from the campaign, the JCF will continue to do its part by boosting its intelligence capacity and operational capabilities.
“We are going to be re-launching some of the best practices that have worked very well for us. We are going to be ensuring that the road policing is much more robust to seize the guns. We have in the last several weeks seized numerous guns through stop and search operations. We are going to do that and so much more, so the involvement of citizens is only one aspect of the get the guns campaign,” he said.
Turning to the latest crime figures, the Commissioner informed that since the start of the year a total of 602 murders have been committed. This represents a 19 per cent increase, when compared to the period last year.
He said the fact that 2015 has recorded a significant decline in every other category of major crimes, provide little comfort as families are being torn apart by the untimely loss of friends and loved ones, and communities continue to be ravaged by the senseless spilling of blood.
“We mourn the loss of every life that has ended violently and it is particularly devastating to see the growing number of women and children whose lives have ended, in many circumstances, at the hands of those they expect protection,” he said.
Of the murders recorded so far this year, approximately 50 per cent are gang related; 38 per cent committed in the course of criminal acts, such as rapes and robberies; and 10 per cent were labelled as domestic.
In the meantime, Dr. Williams pointed out that the JCF has increased its joint deployment initiatives with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), noting that this has led to stability in several volatile areas in St. Catherine North and Kingston Eastern Division.
“At the start of the year, we responded decisively to criminal activities in these divisions, where people are now feeling much safer in their communities,” he said.