Mon | Nov 18, 2019

34 killed last week

Published:Tuesday | October 22, 2019 | 12:26 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Despite seven of 19 Jamaican police divisions being under a state of emergency (SOE), murders and shootings are still higher as at October 19 this year than for the corresponding period in 2018.

Last week alone, there were 34 murders across the country, at a rate of nearly five per day.

The St Andrew South Police Division continues to be a black eye for law enforcers, with 14 murders committed there between October 13 and 19. While the Government is urging residents to hold strain as the police try to rein in rival gangs during the SOE, which was declared on July 7, violent crime continues to rear its head. There were six killings in a 48-hour period last week, including a triple murder in the White Wing Avenue community.

NEW CHIEF

From January 1 to October 19 this year, the division racked up 141 murders, which represents an increase of 18 killings, or a 14.6 per cent rise over the corresponding period last year.

Superintendent Wayne Cameron has been parachuted in from Manchester as divisional commander of St Andrew South, replacing Superintendent Gary Francis.

Francis is heading to Manchester.

There have been 140 shootings during the period, a 17.6 per cent jump over 2018.

There were 86 robberies, three fewer than last year, and 36 break-ins, three fewer than last year.

Up to October 19, some 1,060 people have been killed islandwide, compared to 1,044 over the corresponding period in 2018.

The Kingston Central Division experienced 11 murders last year, but police data indicate a 136 per cent rise to 26. The division also had 30 shootings up to last week, compared with 18 last year.

St Andrew Central had 79 murders, compared with 66 last year, while Kingston Eastern accounted for 60 murders, compared with 50 last year.

St Elizabeth had 22 murders, a 37.5 per cent increase over 2018, while St Catherine South, which is under an SOE, had 104 murders, compared with 75 last year.

While the SOE in Hanover and Westmoreland is bearing fruit, St James’ crime situation is still grave.

St James has recorded 118 murders, a 43.9 per cent increase over last year up to this time. However, there was a yearlong SOE in the parish in 2018, which ended in January this year. It was reimposed on April 30 after a spike in killings.

Westmoreland has had 66 murders so far this year, compared with 112 for the corresponding period in 2018. Hanover has accounted for 26 murders, 20 fewer than last year.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com