‘Bumper crime crop’ in St Bess for 2022: A review of divisional stats Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Though Jamaica recorded 1,498 murders last year, several police divisions recorded declines in killings and crime overall, presumably due to a range of policing strategies, including the politically contentious states of emergency (SOEs).

The crime statistics were contained in the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF’s) serious crime report for January 1 to December 31, 2022.

Overall crime

Overall, the total number of serious and violent crimes committed last year increased by one per cent.

A total of 4,970 serious and violent crimes were reported up to December 31, when compared to 4,898 incidents that were reported for the corresponding period in 2021.

According to the JCF’s figures, the once troubled Kingston Central Police Division recorded 155 serious crimes for 2022. That was a decline of 55 or 25 per cent, when compared to the 206 serious crimes that were reported there for 2021.

A further breakdown showed 31 less murders last year than the 79 that were recorded in Kingston Central for 2021. Shootings in the division also declined; there were 44 cases in 2022, and 74 cases in 2021, a 41 per cent reduction.

Two other usually troubled divisions, the Kingston Western and Kingston Eastern, had overall declines in serious crimes, with 185 and 208 cases, respectively.

The figures represent declines of 88 and 39 cases, respectively, or 32 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.

Interestingly, Kingston Western had the highest percentage decline in violent crimes for 2022 among the island’s geographical police divisions. Contributing to that position was a 30 per cent drop in murders there, or 33 less cases than the 109 homicides that were recorded in 2021.

Additionally, shootings fell by 33 per cent, with 77 cases being recorded in the division for the year just concluded, in contrast to 115 incidents that were reported the previous year.

Further, rape also fell in Kingston Western by 33 per cent, and break-ins fell by a whopping 86 per cent.

Other police divisions where overall serious crimes declined overall in 2022 were: St Andrew South, down 14 per cent; Hanover, down 11 per cent; St Mary, down one per cent; Portland, down 30 per cent; and St Thomas, down two per cent.

St Elizabeth had the highest increase in serious crimes for the year just ended, with a 42 per cent uptick or 80 cases more cases.

There were 271 serious crimes in the breadbasket parish in 2022, in contrast to the 191 cases that were recorded there in 2021.

Among the factor of note in St Elizabeth’s overall crime increase were the 39 murders that were recorded there last year, which compared to 27 cases in 2021.

Shootings in the parish rose by 15 cases. There were 33 cases recorded last year, while 18 cases were recorded the previous year.

The number of rape incidents rose by 25 per cent or five cases in 2022. Numerically, 25 incidents were reported last year, as against 20 such cases the previous year.

There was a big jump in robberies in St Elizabeth, with 72 cases in 2022, versus 30 cases in 2021, representing a 140 per cent rise.

A further breakdown of the national crime figures by categories follows.

File photo of a police patrol team in a volatile community in Kingston.

Murders

Jamaica ended the year with 1,498 murders. This was 24 more homicides when compared to 2021 with 1,474 homicides.

The St James Police Division leads the murder count with 198 cases, a 24 per cent increase compared to the 160 homicides reported there in 2021.

St Catherine North with 145 homicides; Westmoreland, 140; St Andrew South, 131; and St Catherine South, 113, round out the top five most murderous police divisions of the 19 geographical divisions across the island.

Although St Andrew South and St Catherine South occupy spaces on the top five list for the number of murders recorded across all police divisions for the year, homicides are down by 20 per cent or 33 cases, and 14 per cent or 19 cases, respectively in the two divisions.

Trelawny has the highest percentage increase in murders nationally for 2022, with an 82 per cent rise. This was just ahead of Manchester, where homicides shot up by 76 per cent. St Mary had the third highest increase of 67 per cent.

There were 31 killings committed in Trelawny up to December 31, compared to 17 in 2021. In Manchester, 58 murders were recorded last year, in comparison to 33 in 2021.

In St Mary, the parish ended 2022 with 45 murders, 18 more than the 27 that were recorded in 2021.

Portland was the least murderous parish in 2022, having recorded 14 murders. That was a decline of three when compared to the 17 cases that were recorded in the parish in 2021.

The 10 divisions that recorded reductions in murders were: Kingston Central, down 39 per cent; Kingston Western, down by 30 per cent; St Andrew South, down 20 per cent; Portland, down by 18 per cent; Kingston Eastern and St Catherine South, both down by 14 per cent; Clarendon, down 13 per cent; Hanover, down by four per cent; St Andrew North, down by three per cent; and St Andrew Central, down by two per cent.

Shootings

The police reported an eight per cent reduction in the overall number of reported shootings for 2022, when compared with the previous year.

Numerically, a total of 1,162 shootings were reported in 2022, as against 1,263 in 2021.

St Elizabeth had the highest percentage increase in shootings, at 83 per cent. There were 33 incidents in 2022, in comparison to the 18 cases that were recorded in 2021.

Manchester followed with a 40 per cent increase or 12 more shootings in 2022, than the 30 cases that were recorded the previous year.

Police divisions such as Portland, Kingston Central, Kingston Western, Kingston Eastern and St Andrew Central all recorded declines in shootings, at 58 per cent, 41 per cent, 33 per cent, 28 per cent, and 31 per cent, respectively.

Rape

An overall decline was recorded in reported cases of rape for last year.

Some 419 cases were recorded, down from the 480 in 2021, representing a reduction of 61 cases or 13 per cent.

Based on the JCF’s crime data, Westmoreland had the highest percentage increase in rape for 2022, with a 71 per cent rise. Some 41 cases were recorded, as opposed to 24 in 2021.

St Elizabeth followed with a 25 per cent increase, or five more cases than the 20 that were recorded in 2021.

For St Andrew Central, an 18 per cent increase in rape was seen in the division, based on the 20 cases for 2022, in comparison to 17 cases the previous year.

The remaining police divisions all recorded decreases in rape cases.

Robberies

Nationally, robbery cases jumped by 18 per cent over the 2021 figure of 773.

According to the JCF, a total of 914 cases were recorded in 2022.

St Elizabeth had the highest increase in robberies among the police divisions, at 140 per cent or 42 more cases than the 30 cases that were reported the previous year.

The parish of St Ann followed with an 87 per cent rise in robberies last year. Numerically, 97 cases were recorded in 2022, as against the 52 robberies reported in 2021.

The St Catherine South Division reported no increase, as 77 robbery incidents were recorded for each of the last two years.

Portland had the highest percentage decline in robberies, of 47 per cent. That was a reduction of seven cases, when compared to the 15 cases that were recorded in 2021.

Break-ins

Break-ins were up eight per cent nationally, moving to 977, in comparison to 908 reported instances for 2021.

Clarendon recorded the highest percentage increase in break-ins after 122 incidents were recorded last year, compared with 52 in 2021, representing a 135 per cent increase.

Break-ins also ballooned in St Catherine South by 122 per cent, with 80 cases recorded in 2022, or 44 more cases than in 2021.

The Kingston Western Police Division had the lowest divisional number in terms of break-ins, with only two such cases being recorded there for last year, as opposed to 12 cases the year before.

Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson.

Police optimism

Amid the figures for last year showing a marginal overall increase in serious crimes nationally, Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, called for Jamaicans to be optimistic going into the New Year.

He said that he expects “fantastic results” this year.

“We pushed through in 2022 that by the end of the year, we started to see the benefits of it and set the conditions to launch in 2023, with a new energy, with a number of the things that were delayed now in place,” declared Anderson.

“Most importantly, we have people who are committed, people who are optimistic, people who are getting an understanding of their roles and ability to influence what is around them,” he indicated.

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