Crime remains on downward trend in St Ann, but cops stay focused
With crime continuing its downward trend in the garden parish of St Ann since last year, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are remaining focused in their fight to rid the parish of criminal elements, while maintaining public order in several towns, including the resort capital of Ocho Rios.
While providing the welcoming news that up to Thursday, February 14, only 19 serious crimes had been recorded throughout the parish, Deputy Superintendent Ryan Gayle, a senior member of St Ann Police Division, told councillors at the monthly meeting of the parish’s municipal corporation that the police will be ensuring that crime continues on its downward trajectory by focusing on specific towns.
“Ocho Rios is one area that is of concern. Of the four murders we had this year, three have been in Ocho Rios. St Ann’s Bay is an area of concern, in particular Steer Town. The area has only given us one murder since the start of the year. However, there is growing concern re the volume of construction happening now, and the traditional activity for persons to start come in (and) flood that area seeking employment,” DSP Gayle outlined on Thursday.
He indicated that up to February 14 last year, five murders had been recorded in the parish. When compared to the same period this year, that figure declined by one, with four murders up to then.
DSP Gayle said shootings have also declined in the parish, as up to February 14, two cases were reported, when matched up against the six which were shootings recorded for the same period in 2018.
The senior policeman noted too, that break-ins were down by 50 per cent, with five recorded since the start of 2019, in comparison to 10 up to February 14, 2018.
There was also good news in the area of robberies. There were five robberies up to February 14, compared to seven for the similar period in 2018.
Meanwhile, DSP Gayle revealed to the Michael Belnavis-chaired St Ann Municipal Corporation, that several individuals responsible for a flare-up of violence in Brown’s Town last year, have left the area, due to collaboration between the police and members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
In November last year, at least three shooting incidents occurred in the Brown’s Town area, which resulted in two men being killed in separate incidents. The other shooting, which was not fatal, and no one was injured, occurred at a grocery shop adjacent to the Brown’s Town Primary School.
DSP Gayle lauded members of the JDF for the assistance they have rendered to the police’s crime fighting efforts.
“We are aware that most of the players would have left the space (Brown’s Town). I must publicly thank the efforts of the JDF. They have been supporting us in some of our activities, and they were integral in assisting us with Brown’s Town and Steer Town,” DSP Gayle outlined.
He added that the police are aware that the two areas can flare up at any time, and said they will continue the thrust to ensure that crime trends downwards.
“But though we have reduced the crime in these areas, we are still very, very cognisant of the fact that these areas can flare up at any time,” DSP Gayle asserted.
Since the presentation at the municipal corporation meeting last Thursday, there was a murder in the Mammee Bay area of the parish on Saturday afternoon, bringing the total number of murders in the parish to five so far this year.