Crime wave continues to soar

Despite increased security measures to combat the current crimewave, the country's murders continue to skyrocket. 

Latest data show that more than 30 people were murdered across the island last week as the security forces grapple with an increase in gang related violence.

A flare-up in gang violence in the Zone of Special Operation in Denham Town last week has forced the authorities to redeploy military personnel into the community to stem the bloodshed.

The data show that 442 people have been murdered from January 1 to April 21, a five per cent increase over last year.

There is also a slight uptick in shootings and robberies over last year. 

Opposition calls for solutions

Opposition Spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson is again urging the government to find a solution to the carnage. 

“The opposition is very concerned about the alarming increase in both murders and shootings  in the immediate past week where 35 persons have been murdered and 34 persons shot within one week and this is amidst the existence of a ZOSO in  two areas and a state of emergency in one parish and part of one. The country needs to be advised as to what is really happening. The country was led to believe that the ZOSO and the state of emergency would stem the murder rate. However, the numbers clearly indicate that something is wrong and something is not working,” he said.

The opposition parliamentarian also  questioned the decision to withdraw military personnel from the Zoso in Denham Town.

Since the scale-down in military presence, rival gangs have resumed hostilities over the past week, leaving several persons dead and other nursing bullet wounds.

“Because the information that I have gotten is that there has been the movement of security personnel from that area…….the level of fear in that area by residents is very troubling and the government and security forces need to speak with the country in that regard,”Jackson said. 

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Defence Force has increased its presence in the West Kingston community.

On Saturday night, a number of troops who just joined the military from the Jamaica Service Corp, were deployed as support for the ongoing security initiative. 

Major Basil Jarrett, Spokesperson for the JDF,  told RJR News that the additional troops will be conducting extra checks in the coming weeks and will be targeting guns and gunmen who may have returned.

Major Jarrett explained that the military presence was initially reduced to allow, what he said was the very important build phase in the Zone of Special Operations, with social intervention programmes.

But he conceded that this may have been done too early.

“The social intervention is very critical to Denham Town, my understanding is that some projects have started, including removing zinc fences in and around the area. But at the same time there are operational emergencies all over the island ….as we enter the build phase we removed some of the troops, but that may have been a bit premature,” Jarrett disclosed. 



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