Ja plans to reduce murders

By the end of this month the Jamaica Constabulary Force will develop a plan to reduce murder, Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields has disclosed.

The objective is to be pursued through a specific Homicide Reduction Strategy being prepared by DCP Shields, who heads the crime portfolio in the JCF. The resolve by the police high command to tackle murder this year comes after the country registered a record 1,669 murders last year.

However, the crime chief was careful to warn against expectations of a 50 per cent reduction in homicides. “There’s no such thing as a quick fix,” he cautioned.

While details of the crime reduction plan are yet to be revealed, Shields indicated this week on the Power 106 radio programme, ‘Good Evening Jamaica’ that some aspects were already being pursued, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.

“The emphasis will be on a partnership approach, working with other agencies, as we are at the moment in Denham Town, Jones Town and Craig Town and other areas, ” he said.

This homicide reduction aspiration is in keeping with a new investigative task force approach already announced by the JCF.

“What we want to do is to bring a consistent and professional approach to all homicide and shooting investigations in Kingston & St. Andrew, to start with , by bringing together a task force of about 120 police officers who will be totally dedicated to ensuring that we have a professional approach investigations”, Shields explained.

The task force, he said, would be “a proactive team? to go after the criminals that we have identified through intelligence and through the evidence gathered”.

In too many police divisions, he said, there were too few investigators – often only eight to nine available to handle a caseload of up to 130.

DCP Shields claimed that the JCF had already achieved a commendable reduction in the rate of increase in homicides in 2005 over the previous year. “When I arrived here on March 1 last year we had a 50 percent increase in homicides over and above the pervious year (2004). That was reduced to 12 to 13 per cent by the end of the year”.

Murder trend

Year – Incidence

2002 – 1045

2003 – 975

2004 – 1471

2005 – 1669