Kingston – Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson reported an 81 per cent drop in murders, while shootings fell by 56 per cent after the declaration of a state of public emergency last month in the south-eastern parish of St Catherine.
The enhanced security measure was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on June 17 to address the high level of crime in the parish, especially murders.
The police commissioner said that over the 14-day period, 66 people were charged, 28 of whom were for serious crimes, including murder, shooting, and sexual offences, while six others were charged with breaches of the Law Reform Fraudulent Transactions Act or lottery scamming.
“Five wanted persons were taken into custody, three of whom were charged for sexual-related offences, and two for murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition,” he said.
“Two major players involved in the gang conflicts in both the St Catherine North and South (police) divisions were also arrested and charged with murder, shooting, and illegal possession of a firearm.”
Providing the figures during a virtual news conference, he added that seven illegal guns were seized during the period.
Additionally, he said, a 14-year-old girl reported missing was identified by a member of the security forces at a checkpoint in the company of an adult male.
The adult male was charged with rape and having sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16.
Anderson further noted that a pair of 19-year-old males taken into custody during the state of public emergency as persons of interest in the double murder of Corporal Delwin Jackson and Kenroy Chandler on August 18, 2021, were charged with murder.
He said gang conflicts in early June in St Catherine accounted for 21 murders and nine shootings.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner said there was a one per cent reduction in major crimes.
“Since our last news briefing (in May), we have managed to reduce the gap in murders from an increase of 6.3 per cent as was reported then, to 1.9 per cent as at the end of June,” he said. “This represents a 4.4 per cent reduction in murders over that period.”
According to Anderson, gang conflicts account for about 74 per cent of murders, with interpersonal conflicts accounting for 14 per cent; other criminal acts, six per cent; and mob killings, another one per cent.
He said the remaining five per cent is still being determined.
The police commissioner said shootings were down by nine per cent, and rape was down by 13 per cent, but robberies increased by seven per cent and break-ins jumped by four per cent.
“We had anticipated an even greater decline in murders and shootings as our operational and investigative initiatives took effect,” he said.
“However, this was impacted by the increased gang conflicts in St Catherine during the month and the murder of the mother and four children in Clarendon on June 21.”
Anderson reminded Jamaicans to contact the police to intervene in conflicts in communities before they become a crime.