More murders, but Jamaica records decline in major crimes so far this year

KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 24, CMC – Jamaica has recorded a 2.3 per cent increase in murders during the first seven months of this year as compared with same period last year, but the island registered a 13.3 per cent decline in major crimes during the same period, according to figures released by Police Commissioner Owen Ellington.

“Using the year 2009 as a benchmark, this year’s crime situation represents a significant improvement in the serious crimes and security environment, a continuation of gains being made by the security forces in the relentless fight against organised crime and gangs,” Ellington said in a statement issued here late on Monday night.

He said that as at July 21, murders stood at 614 compared to 598 in 2011; 905 in 2010 and 864 in 2009.

The number of shootings reported to the police stood at 623 during the first seven months, compared to 725 in 2011; 914 in 2010 and 897 in 2009.

“So while murders in 2012 are 16 or 2.3 per cent above 2011, there is an overall decline of 86 or seven per cent in serious violent crimes of murder and shooting in 2012 compared to 2011.

There is an overall decline of 523 or 13.3 per cent in major crimes.

The Police Commissioner said that while the crime figures were encouraging, they fall short of targets swet for 2012.

“We are committed to achieving those targets. Our country and fellow citizens deserve a peaceful, safe and confident environment in which to live, work, conduct business and raise families,” Ellington said in the statement.

Earlier this month, National Security Minister Peter Bunting said that government would be implementing a special communications programme aimed at changing the pervasive and counter-productive “informa fi dead” culture.

He told Parliament that a change in the culture and the mind-set of some citizens is critical to the success of the fight against crime and violence.

“Jamaica is victim to a pervasive sub-culture of violence, lawlessness and disregard for authority. No policing tactic or government strategy will be successful without a serious improvement in the police/citizen relationship and the ‘buy-in’ of every citizen,” he stated.

In 2005, Jamaica had a record high of 1,674 murders.