Security Minister Says No Surge In Crime (only murders)
In a speech that may at first sound contradictory, National Security Minister Peter Bunting pointed out that there is no surge in crime per se, but still announced a crime plan.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Bunting said there were reductions in major crimes, but murder continues to be increase. In attempting to give a reason for the hike in crime, Bunting put the blame on the Lottery scam. In a meeting in Hanover over a week ago, Bunting had said that the national murder figure moved from 494 to 581 up to June 30, which is a 17.6% overall increase.
Western Jamaica Murder Surges
Of this figure, St. James had 103 murders. Westmoreland with an almost 100 per cent increase in murders, jumping from 22 last year to 42 up to June 30 this year. Westmoreland’s neighbour, Hanover is also beginning to surge, and moved from 19 up to 24. Trelawny was the only parish in the county of Cornwall to register a decline to only 8 murders.
Also contributing to this increase was St Mary, moving from 13 to 15; from 17 to 21 in St Ann; also from 17 to 21 in Manchester; from 43 to 56 in Clarendon; from 64 to 68 in St Catherine North (Spanish Town); 11 to 24 in St Andrew North; 5 to 12 in St Thomas; moving from 21 to 27 in Kingston Central; and from 22 to 29 in St Andrew Central.
Apart from St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, the Lottery scam is not a big sore in the other parishes. How then does Bunting account for the rise in other police divisions?
The answer to reducing crime, lies not only in long term strategies, but also in policing. The other police divisions could take a cue from Trelawny’s police. According to the police, they have formed a squad aimed at stifling criminal activity in the parish, to let criminals know that Trelawny is not the place to be.
Strangers coming to live in the parish are thoroughly checked to see if they are wanted in any police division. Zero tolerance arrests are made, among other strategies that are obviously working. Trelawny is the second safest parish to live and there is a quiet peace and tranquillity, reminiscent of “the good old days.”
Bunting’s Crime Plan
With over 600 murders since the start of the year, Bunting announced his crime plan to include:
- Strengthening the operational capabilities of the Security Forces,
- Addressing the route causes of our societal violence, with various social intervention strategies, and
- Bringing important legislation to this House to support the investigation and prosecution of criminals,”
Long Term Measures
Now all 3 appear to be long term measures. How quickly can we strengthen the operational capabilities of the Security Forces, address the root cause of violence, or pass legislations that are brought to parliament?
Learn From Trelawny and Portland
These are great ideas and if brought to fruition, will cause reduction in the long term. However, for the short term, our advice to Bunting is to study what is being done in Portland (the safest parish) and Trelawny, then replicate the successful strategies island-wide.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of National Security Peter Bunting today told Parliament that there is no surge in crime per se, but rather a surge in murders, mentioning that the figures for other categories of violent crimes are down by eight per cent.
He then pointed out that rape was down by 25 per cent, aggravated assault down by 14 per cent, and robberies down by 16 per cent.
Bunting sought to explain the importance of understanding the main contributors to the spike in murders.
“On a per capita basis, the parishes of St James and Hanover and Westmoreland have the highest murder rates,” he explained. “St James has a murder rate two-and-a-half times higher than the rest of Jamaica.”
Bunting contended that all three parishes have a high concentration of lottery scamming activities and that a recent analysis by the National Intelligence Bureau found that at least one in three murders in Police Area 1 were identified as lottery scam-related.
It is suspected that the figures may be significantly higher.