Significant Reduction in Crime in St. James, West Kingston and St. Catherine

Story Highlights

  • Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is reporting that the operational activities associated with the enhanced security measures in sections of St. James, West Kingston and St. Catherine have resulted in significant crime reduction in those areas.
  • The Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate on June 12.
  • Dr. Chang said since the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, there was only one murder and one shooting between September 1 and December 31, 2017.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is reporting that the operational activities associated with the enhanced security measures in sections of St. James, West Kingston and St. Catherine have resulted in significant crime reduction in those areas.

The Minister was speaking in the House of Representatives during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate on June 12.

Dr. Chang said since the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, there was only one murder and one shooting between September 1 and December 31, 2017.

In Denham Town for the period January 1 to October 17, 2017, there were 18 murders and 58 shootings. He said since the establishment of the ZOSO on October 18, 2017 to the end of the year, there was no murder recorded.

“Despite the initial reservations, some of the things are working. Rest assured, this Administration will continue to place emphasis on crime prevention and security using the ‘all of society’ approach,” he said.

He pointed out that with the State of Public Emergency (SOE), the joint security forces have recovered 38 illegal firearms in the St. James area.

“With the declaration of the State of Public Emergency in St. James, as at June 9, murders have declined by 45, compared to 129 for the same period in 2017. Shooting declined by a similar per cent, but if we transfer this into raw numbers, it is a reduction of some 84 in that zone. We are saying that as a result of the introduction of that particular activity, there are 84 more citizens alive today,” he said.

The Minister added that since the declaration of the SOE in the St. Catherine North Police Division, murders have been reduced.

“In North St. Catherine where we had a dramatic spike in murders in the first three months of the year, between January 1, 2018 and March 18, 2018, there was an average of almost five murders a week in North St. Catherine. Since the declaration of the State of Public Emergency, we have had less than one per week,” Dr. Chang said.

He added that the organisations responsible for the provision of social amenities have been working to improve the social conditions in the areas.

Dr. Chang said the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will continue to partner with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to conduct joint security operations.

“Last year, some 7,115 such operations were conducted, resulting in the recovery of 129 assorted weapons. This model has been effectively utilised in the SOEs and ZOSOs and in recent times has led to the capture and demise of some of Jamaica’s most wanted men,” he said

The Minister pointed out that the joint security operations have also significantly disrupted the activities of the gangs, particularly in the Westmoreland Division.

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