Jamaica murders continue to skyrocket

Amid
a major drive by the security forces to neuter gangs and clamp down on violent
crime across Jamaica, police statistics indicate that 752 people were killed in
the first five months of the year.

This means that for the first 151
days of the year, an average of just under five murders were com-mitted daily.
The staggering figure reflects that 99 more murders have been recorded in 2010
than for the corresponding period last year.

A member of the Police High
Command, who requested anonymity, said it was too early to gauge the impact on
the crime rate from security sweeps throughout the Corporate Area. Those
operations have resulted in gun seizures, mass detentions, the surrender of
alleged crime lords, and a relentless hunt for No. 1 fugitive, Christopher
‘Dudus’ Coke.

Police data shows that 655 of those
murdered this year were men, while the gun featured in 584, or 78 per cent, of
homicides.

The police, however, have not
established a motive for 490, or 65 per cent, of the murders.

Murder trends held true to form in
Jamaica’s five bloodiest parishes – Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St James
and Clarendon – which accounted for 620 of the violent deaths from January to
May. St Catherine and St Andrew both recorded 172 homicides; St James, 110;
Kingston, 87; and Clarendon, 79.

These parishes totalled 524 murders
over the corresponding period last year.

St Catherine, with its two
divisions – including the volatile Spanish Town – registered the biggest jump,
skyrocketing from 115 murders for January-May 2009 to 172 this year.

All three divisions in Kingston
recorded upticks – ranging from an increase of one murder in Kingston Central
to 14 in the volatile Kingston Western zone.

The parish of St Mary recorded 12
murders over the period, up from two for the same time last year, thus
recording a 500 per cent jump.