With the ongoing state of public emergency (SOE) steadily taking root in St James, violent crime is witnessing a drastic reduction. The parish – which was the nation’s runaway murder capital last year, with a record 335 murders – is now seeing a welcome reduction by 59 murders over the comparative period last year.
In giving an update on what has transpired since Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the SOE in St James on January 18, a release from the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) stated that the 12 murders recorded is less than half of last year’s figure.
“While we are not yet at a stage where we can celebrate, I believe we are doing reasonably well,” a senior police source told The Gleaner yesterday. “We just need residents to keep providing the information we need to go after the illegal guns and the gangsters who have been using them.”
According to Inspector Diane Bartley, who heads the CCU, since the start of the SOE, some 782 persons have been detained and processed in operations carried out by the security forces across the parish.
Of the persons detained and processed, 61 have been arrested and charged with various offences to include murder and illegal possession of firearms. Among the 11 persons charged for murder are some top-tier members of the Flanker-based Sparta Gang and the Canterbury-based Nation Crocs.