JIS News

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  • The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 10) approved a 30-day extension of the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in five parishes and the St Andrew South Police Division for 30 days.
  • The SOEs are currently in the western parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland; Clarendon and St. Catherine; and the St Andrew South Police Division.
  • In his remarks, National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said a State of Public Emergency (SOE) was declared for the St Andrew South Police Division with effect from July 7, 2019 and is slated to end on January 4, 2020.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 10) approved a 30-day extension of the States of Public Emergency (SOEs) in five parishes and the St Andrew South Police Division for 30 days.

The SOEs are currently in the western parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland; Clarendon and St. Catherine; and the St Andrew South Police Division.

In his remarks, National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said a State of Public Emergency (SOE) was declared for the St Andrew South Police Division with effect from July 7, 2019 and is slated to end on January 4, 2020.

He noted that the recommendation to declare a State of Public Emergency was based on the assessment that the level of violent criminal activities experienced, continuing and threatening in the specified area, was of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to endanger public safety.

Dr. Chang informed that for the period prior to and during the SOE (February 15 to July 6, 2019) and (July 7 to November 26, 2019), respectively, the Division experienced an overall reduction in murders by 18 per cent (77 to 63) and shootings by 31 per cent (83 to 57).

Cumulatively, for the period July 7, 2019 to November 25, 2019, a total of 2,044 persons were detained, of which 1,967 were released.

“There were 160 arrests and charges within the Division for varying offences, to include breach of the Firearms Act (33), Breach of the Dangerous Drugs Act (15), murder (11), shooting (12) and robbery (8). Twenty firearms and 274 rounds of ammunition have also been seized,” the Security Minister stated.

Dr. Chang noted that the St. Andrew South Police Division continues to raise significant security concerns nationally and still accounts for the Division with one of the highest murder rates.

“The threat of guns, gangs and dons are pretty much still active in the area. The gangs operating in the division are known to perpetuate violent criminal activities,” he said.

Regarding St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover, for the period prior to and during the State of Public Emergency, October 2, 2018 to April 29, 2019, and April 30, 2019 to November 25, 2019), the Tri-Parish area experienced an overall reduction in murders and shootings by 27 per cent (182 to 133) and 26 per cent (166 to 123), respectively.

“Reductions in murders and shootings were also experienced over the corresponding 2018 period (April 30, 2018 to November 25, 2018) when compared to the current period during the State of Public Emergency (April 30, 2019 to November 25, 2019) by 23 per cent (173 to 133) and 28 per cent (172 to 123), respectively,” Dr. Chang said.

In addition, over the period January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019, reductions were recorded in the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover.

Murders and shootings in the parish of Westmoreland have reduced by 36 per cent (132 to 85) and 37 per cent (142 to 89), respectively.

Additionally, for Westmoreland when compared to the corresponding 2018 periods (April 30, 2018 to November 25, 2018) and (April 30, 2019 to November 25, 2019) during the States of Emergency, reductions were also recorded in murders and shootings by 54 per cent (79 to 36) and 42 per cent (77 to 45), respectively.

“Murders and shootings in the parish of Hanover have recorded similar reductions for the period January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 by 44 per cent (54 to 30) and 63 per cent (56 to 21), respectively,” Dr. Chang said.

Similarly, for Hanover, when compared to the corresponding 2018 periods (April 30, 2018 to November 25, 2018) and (April 30, 2019 to November 25, 2019) during the States of Emergency, reductions were recorded in murders and shootings by 52 per cent (33 to 16) and 82 per cent (39 to 7), respectively.

“Murders and shootings in the parish of St. James have increased by just over 40 per cent and 25 per cent respectively; for this current period (January 1, 2019 to 30 November 2019),” the Security Minister said.

Meanwhile, for the parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine, for the period prior to and during the State of Public Emergency (June 15, 2019 to September 4, 2019) and (September 5, 2019 to November 25, 2019), the Bi-Parish area collectively experienced an overall reduction in murders and shootings by 56 per cent (101 to 44) and 57 per cent (75 to 32) respectively.

Dr. Chang informed that the rates of murders and shootings have also collectively been reduced when comparing the corresponding periods of 2018 (September 5, 2018 to November 25, 2018) with the current period under a State of Public Emergency (September 5, 2019 to November 25, 2019) by 36 per cent (from 69 to 44) and 40 per cent (from 53 to 32) respectively.

Similarly, over the period September 5, 2019 to November 30, 2019, during the period of the SOE; compared with the corresponding period in 2018 (September 5, 2018 to November 25, 2018) reductions were recorded in all the following Police Divisions.

Murders and shootings in the Police Division of Clarendon have reduced by 55 per cent (29 to 13) and 56 per cent (16 to 7), respectively; murders and shootings in the Police Division of St. Catherine South have reduced by 40 per cent (25 to 15) and 58 per cent (24 to 10), respectively; and murders and shootings in the Police Division of St. Catherine North recorded an increase of just over six per cent (15 to 16) and 15 per cent (13 to 15), respectively.