Jamaica’s Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, says there has been a reduction in crime on the island during the three weekend lockdowns that were implemented as part of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
But he noted that during the first weekend lockdown, there had been an increase in murders, with the rates steadily declining over the last two weekends.
“For the first weekend lockdown, it was no different from without a lockdown. We found that the first weekend we had over that period, a six percent increase; 22 homicides took place.
“Then the next one it dropped and the following one it dropped, as we adjusted our strategies around what is happening, particularly in the corporate area,” Major Anderson said.
He told the Crime Consensus Monitoring and Oversight Committee’s digital briefing that the change in strategy led to “some quick responses to things that were unfolding to try and keep them under control.
“So where we are now… all major crimes are down 12.4 percent at the moment. So…is it (lockdown) a valuable tool also for crime control? To an extent it is. What we have found, especially with the gang-related matters is that the gangs find the space… if you give them a couple hours, they will try and get at each other.
“But what we have been doing is following up on them very rapidly and solving these cases very quickly and where people are doing things like… drive-bys or robberies, we are actually responding a lot quicker and actually capturing them,” he told the Committee.
The Police Commissioner noted that the message is going out that “it’s not going to be easy to commit crimes and get away with them”.
“What you are actually seeing is, as we have invested in our technologies and transportation has gotten better, you are starting to see the payoffs,” Major Anderson said.
The Crime Consensus Monitoring and Oversight Committee was established in 2020 with a mandate to set goals aimed at mitigating crime and reporting to the public.
The independent body, which comprises nonpartisan stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, academia, and the political directorate, is chaired by the president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Lloyd Distant Jr.
For the period January 1st to April 17, Jamaica has recorded 419 murders as compared to 405 for the same period last year.