Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, says a suite of strategic operations will be undertaken in response to the spike in the country’s crime rate.
“We will be conducting a suite of operational responses along with our partners at the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force), MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency), which should result in a flattening of this rise and then a tapering off,” he said.
Speaking at a recent virtual press briefing, the Commissioner said 72 per cent of the 991 murders in the country since the start of the year up to September 13 have been attributed to gang conflicts.
He explained that in the majority of the cases, firearms are the weapons of choice used by the criminals, noting that since the start of the year, guns were used in 85 per cent or 843 of murders committed.
The Commissioner said the country has seen a 10.5 per cent increase in homicides this year compared to the corresponding period last year. He noted, too, that there has been a 1.7 per cent increase in shootings over last year.
“We are talking about up to Monday morning (September 13), so of the 991 murders recorded this year, so far, 714 of them have been attributed directly to gang conflicts. What we are seeing as a feature of these conflicts is that gangsters are more willing now to, if they can’t get the persons they are after, that is their rivals, go after the family and associates of these gangsters and go after all of them collectively,” he said.
“It needs to be that the person who decides to pick up the gun and to carry the gun, when they come into the system and we get a conviction, they need to be in jail for a long time,” he emphasised.
Commissioner Anderson said a different approach is needed to tackle the issue.
“We have to take a different approach to the guns that are out there killing our people,” he stressed.
“So, whatever the regime is, whatever the system is, whatever the laws are, whatever the arrangements are, if they do not assist us in protecting our people from murder, new arrangements are necessary, new laws are necessary, new structures are necessary. It cannot be that we just have this pandemic going… and nothing changes,” the Commissioner said.
Meanwhile, he commended the dedicated members of the Force who have given yeoman service.