Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is hailing the continued downward trend in crime in St. James.
He credited the gains to the enhanced security measures, including the Elite Quick Response team, which was rolled out in the St. James Division last year, as well as several social intervention projects spearheaded by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in collaboration with government agencies that were implemented in communities across the parish.
“We have made significant gains in the parish and those gains have come because of a number of operational initiatives, which I think, need to be pointed out to all of Jamaica, along with the high level of performance by the officers in this division, who have demonstrated a high level of professionalism, commitment and hard work,” Dr. Chang said.
He was addressing a press briefing on Friday (November 20) at the Freeport Police Station in St. James, following a tour of the Coral Gardens, Mount Salem and Freeport police stations in the parish.
Data from the Ministry indicates that during the 281-day period from November 11, 2019 to August 17, 2020, when both the Elite Quick Response Team and the State of Public Emergency (SOE) were in operation, murders dropped by 24 per cent to 93.
In addition, there were 97 shooting incidents, representing a 12 per cent fall, while there was an 18 per cent increase in the recovery of illegal firearms, with 90 weapons taken off the streets.
For the 92-day period between the lifting of the SOE on August 17 to November 17, 2020, there have been 27 murders, 29 shooting incidents, and 19 illegal firearms recovered.
This means, that since the lifting of the SOE in August 2020, the St. James Police Division has experienced a 16 per cent reduction in murders and a 26 per cent reduction in shootings.
The Minister commended the members of the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for working together for the benefit of the people of St. James.
Dr. Chang was accompanied on the tour of the police stations by Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson; Commander of the Area One Police Division, Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers; Commanding Officer of the St. James Police Division, Superintendent Vernon Ellis; and personnel from the Ministry.
The visit was to assess areas for improvement at the facilities.
The Minister told journalists that ground will be broken for a new police station in Mount Salem on Friday (November 27).