Jamaica Gleaner / Western Bureau:
The St James Police High Command is in the process of implementing a strategic plan to curb the lawlessness in Montego Bay, especially the various hotspots, as part of an overall effort aimed at making the upcoming Christmas season a peaceful one for violence-weary residents of the western parish.
At last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, Assistant Superintendent of Police Anton-Gur Cardoza said additional police personnel have already been deployed in greater numbers across the parish as part of the drive to curb the lawlessness, which had already generated a recorded 316 murders so far this year.
“So, for this festive season, we have increased police activities in the town of Montego Bay. We have received additional assets to beef up our activities,” said Cardoza. “In addition, we will be doing some covert operations and with our partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force, foot and mobile presence will be increased.”
According to Cardoza, communities such as Flanker, Cambridge, Rose Heights, Salt Spring, Retrieve, Bickersteth and downtown Montego Bay have been earmarked for special attention and will be high on the police’s radar.
“We will be closely monitoring permits and parties put on by individuals, because some of these people are involved [in criminal activities] and are using the proceeds from their illegal activities, such as lottery scamming, to stage these events,” Cardoza said.
The year’s murder figure in St James, which has left the general citizenry overcome by fear, on Thursday stood at 42 more than last year’s then record 264 murders. The current figure represents a 23 per cent increase over the comparative period last year.
In addition to the murder figures, the parish has also had another 236 incidents of shootings, a 26 per cent increase. Amid the carnage, the police have managed to seize 163 weapons and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Gleaner understands that while murders and shootings has cast an evil shadow over the parish, other crimes such as rapes, break-ins and larceny have been trending down.
“I just want to assure the citizens of St James that we (the police) have been doing some good work and we will continue to conduct these crime-fighting activities throughout the Christmas season,” said Cardoza.
“We have further major crime-fighting strategies that we will be employing, but for obvious reasons we cannot divulge such information to the public at this moment.”
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