As Jamaica’s Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee prepares to update the nation on its deliberations, stakeholders will be acutely aware that the wave of violence flaring for decades is still at crisis proportions.
Despite a slew of coronavirus quarantines and night-time curfews that have turned communities into ghost towns over the last eight months, murders and shootings have had negligible declines.
Up to November 15 this year, 1,133 people had been murdered, 21 fewer than for the corresponding period in 2019. This year’s 1,108 shootings are five fewer than last year’s total.
Murders have fallen in nine of the country’s 19 police divisions, with Kingston Western presenting the gravest threat, with 86 deaths, a 65 per cent rise over last year’s 52. Shootings have soared there by 80 per cent.
Those statistics are telling signs of the dilemma for commanding officer of the Kingston Western Police Division, Superintendent Leighton Gray.