Sunday 13 October, 2019

10 murders – not 54 – in Mount Salem so far this year

A tally of 10 murders so far this year appears to be the total in relation to the Mount Salem community in St James, which was last week selected as the first Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO).

The police, somehow, gave a figure of 54 murders in the community, which left residents there, and persons further afield, simply flabbergasted.

The National Security Council, after a meeting in Kingston on Tuesday, confirmed that there was an error in the number that was given for murders that were committed in Mount Salem since the start of the year at the press conference to announce the first ZOSO last week.

In a statement on Tuesday, the National Security Council said the murder statistics formed a single element of the data that was provided, and the correct homicide figure alone would not have changed the recommendation for Mount Salem to be the first ZOSO.

However, the council said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has been asked to review its systems of data collection, collation and reporting, to ensure that there are no systemic challenges in those regard.

That review is expected to be completed within 48 hours, following which the JCF is expected to update the public on the crime statistics affecting the community, and the measures they will be taking to improve their reporting system and protocols.

The National Security Council said the decision to name Mount Salem as the first ZOSO was based on the relevant legal criteria, intelligence, along with strategic and operational considerations of the joint command.

It added that while it is sensitive to the concerns of the community regarding stigmatisation, it does not consider it acceptable that persons are living in fear in the community.

The council called on law-abiding members of the community to stand with the security forces against criminal elements.

It said all reports on the ground reflect the maintenance of peace and order within the ZOSO since its declaration last Friday.

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