KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica has recorded 72 murders during the first two weeks of the new year, according to figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
The figures represent a 24 percent increase in murders compared to the corresponding period last year.
Westmoreland, the westernmost parish in Jamaica, located on the south side of the island, recorded a 350 percent increase in the number of murders, with the JCF reporting nine murders so far this year as compared with two for the corresponding period in 2021.
According to the JCF, from January 1 to 15, there was a 300 percent increase in murders in the Kingston Central division with four murders since the start of the year, compared to one for the corresponding period last year.
There were also increases of 100 percent and 80 percent in St Catherine South and St Catherine North divisions respectively and the data shows a 27 percent increase in murders in St James, the suburban parish, located on the north-west end of the island, with 14 murders recorded.
As of Saturday, the police figures showed that there was a 10 percent reduction in shootings, reporting 44 incidents, five less than the corresponding period last year.
Robberies were up 9.3 percent while rape and break-ins fell when compared with last year’s figures for the corresponding period.
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that a section of Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland had been declared a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO).
The ZOSO is a specifically designed intervention which is more geographically limited and focused on community building. In addition to the security element, it has a heavy community intervention, social intervention and community building component. These components when taken together must be properly organized and well-resourced which means adequate planning must take place,” Holness said.
He said while the Zone of special operations is a tool to fight crime, “it is not an immediate response tool.
“it is a tool that is used to displace criminals, while concurrently allowing community and social intervention to take place,” he added.