Up to Saturday, December 28 — there were 1,326 murders committed in Jamaica, according to official police statistics.
The number is 43 more than the similar period in 2018. It also represents a 3.4 per cent increase in murders, the police’s statistics for serious and violent crimes as of December 28, reveal.
Also, there were 1,246, or 90 more shootings for the period, reflecting a 7.8 per cent increase in those incidents. Along with 484 rapes and 361 aggravated assaults (declines of 3.8 and 4.7 per cent respectively), the country saw a total of 3,417 serious and violent crimes, which is 96 more than 2018, or an increase of 2.9 per cent.
Commenting on the figures, Opposition spokesman on national security, Fitz Jackson told the Jamaica Observer that the statistics indicate that the measures implemented by the State were unable to reduce crime.
“By virtue of the number we are looking at it is clear that what the Government is doing hasn’t worked and it’s not giving the desired results. It’s a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion anymore,” he stated, arguing that murders continue to increase even in areas where the states of emergency (SOE) are in force.
Furthermore, Jackson said the boots on the ground are exhausted and their productivity impaired, as a result. “The personnel involved are exhausted and their productivity has been compromised in a significant way. It’s not like any other work, you’re talking about the security of the communities. There is no effective policing taking place in these areas and the criminals are aware. They’re [criminals] not hiding in some hole,” he said.
Jackson said criminals have made their own assessment of security operations and are taking evasive action such as using alternate routes. “While you have a dip in the SOE areas — what they do not showcase is that the numbers increase in the other areas and that’s why you have increase year-to-year. The criminals have now seen the modus operandi [of the security forces] and they operate around them,” he asserted.
According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) data, there were 1,189 reported robberies between January 1 and December 28, or 101 more than the similar period last year; and 1,210 reported break-ins, 36 more than last year. Reported larceny dropped by 7.9 per cent, or 12 incidents.
Meanwhile, firearms recovery declined from 718 to 660 for the period, while 14,264 rounds of ammunition were seized for six categories of weapons, an increase of 3,048 over a similar period last year. Sixty-seven per cent or 422 of the weapons recovered were pistols, while revolvers accounted for 108, or the second largest category. The data reveals that 103 of the guns were stolen, 75 more than recorded for 2018.
At the same time, the police made 13,019 arrests (and charge) for the period, 360 less than for 2018, the least number of arrests and charge since 2016, when there were 14,593. The Criminal Investigations Branch accounts for 4,570 of the arrests this year.
Additionally, there has been an increase in motor vehicle theft, from 448 to 613, equalling that of a similar period in 2016. The total includes 93 motorcycles, but the majority of units stolen were motor cars — 468 of them reported.