JIS News

Murders and shootings have continued to trend downward, with current data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) showing a reduction of some 25 per cent since the start of the year.
National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, who made this disclosure today (Aug. 24), as he addressed a press briefing held at his Oxford Road offices in Kingston, indicated that the St. Andrew South and St. Catherine North divisions, which were prone to high levels of criminal activity, had recorded significant declines.
In the case of St. Andrew South, the Minister cited a reduction of 54 per cent in relation to murder and a 47 per cent decrease in shootings in comparison to the corresponding period in 2005. Meanwhile, St. Catherine North recorded a decline of 38 per cent in murder and 25 per cent fewer instances of shootings.
“The trend has also been maintained generally in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. In the eastern Kingston division, there has been a 46 per cent decline; St. Andrew Central, a 33 per cent decline; St. Andrew North, 33 per cent; and Kingston Western, a 28 per cent decline,” Mr. Phillips informed.
The National Security Minister told journalists that all corporate area police divisions recorded significant declines in murders, with the exception of Kingston Central, where murders increased by some 31 per cent.
Even as the major crimes are trending downwards, with rape down by eight per cent and break-ins decreasing by 25 per cent, Dr. Phillips said that carnal abuse was “a worrying trend,” with a 31 per cent increase in incidences.
He noted that the increase in carnal abuse was reflective of the “fundamental breakdown in the moral fibre of the society”.
“Fathers and young males in the society, who are responsible for this reprehensible pattern of behaviour, require special attention. While the law must take its course, it is clear that we are dealing with a phenomenon that is much more than a police matter and requires a much wider-ranging set of social interventions in the family, school and elsewhere,” Dr. Phillips stated.
As for the rural parishes, the data showed that the downward trend in criminal activities was similarly sustained, with major crimes down 55 per cent in St. Elizabeth; 43 per cent in Portland; 25 per cent in Trelawny; 17 per cent in Hanover and 14 per cent in St. Mary.
While the statistics for St. James, Manchester and St. Thomas went up marginally, there were significant increases in St. Ann, Westmoreland, and Clarendon of 29 per cent, 27 per cent, 22 per cent, respectively.
Providing a reason for the rise in rural crime, the National Security Minister said: “it is increasingly clear that our modern highways together with increasing access to motor vehicles, have added to the mobility of the criminals. Criminals from the corporate area are now setting up bases in close proximity to major investment centres and commercial centres”.
To this end, he said, the capacity of law enforcement organisations in the corporate area would now have to be replicated in the rural parishes and extended island wide.
Minister Phillips noted that despite the challenges that were being faced, the crime statistics, for the most part, were “moving in the right direction”.