There is hope for St James - CCU head confident despite recent crime figures
Head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Stephanie Lindsay, believes that the next crime statistics, which will be released at the end of the year, will show some reduction in the number of serious crimes in St James.
This as the police have been successful at apprehending and eliminating some of the main violence producers in that parish.
The latest crime figures for the period January 1 to October 14 were released by the JCF on the weekend.
They show that the St James Police Division has recorded the highest number of murders.
It also shows that there is a 15.2 per cent increase in the number of murders in the parish compared to the same period last year.
But Lindsay believes those numbers will be dwindling soon as violence producers like Daniel Whittaker and Paul Jay Lewis, who were at the helm of the G-City gang, which operates out of Montego Bay, were taken out by the police in the last two months.
"We do expect that with the rate at which we are seizing firearms and the rate at which some of the main violence producers and wanted persons are being arrested, and unfortunately in some instances killed, to see some reduction in the crime figures in St James," Lindsay told THE STAR.
She said she also expects the reduction to carry over into 2018 and that the police are not just planning for that.
Lewis and Whittaker were killed in separate incidents by the police.
In September, Whittaker, who was the leader of G-City gang, was killed in a shoot-out with the police in Montego Bay.
After his death, Lewis, who was believed to be second-in-command, and other members of the gang took to social media to issue a number of threats to the police force, prompting the Police High Command to advise members of the force to be on high alert, according to Lindsay.
"He (Lewis) was one of them sending around voice notes on social media, threatening police officers," Lindsay said at the time of Lewis's death.
As the police turned up the pressure on criminals in St James through the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO), Lewis defected to Old Harbour where on October 11, he was cut down in a shoot-out with the police after they learnt about his whereabouts.
But even as Lindsay expects to see reduction in the number of serious crimes in St James, she also believes that there is still much work to be done in the parish.
"It is organised crime that we are dealing with and organised crime takes time. It takes time for gangs to be dismantled," Lindsay said. "So, we don't want people to believe that because we have removed these main players that things will automatically disappear."