American criminals who continue to contribute to Jamaica’s crime issue are now being monitored by US law enforcement. A list of names was sent to Washington earlier this month by Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s administration.
State of emergencies (SOEs) were announced in St. Catherine, Clarendon, St. Ann, St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and portions of Kingston and St. Andrew at Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ media conference on Wednesday.
As the number of killings this year has already surpassed the 1,463 registered last year, Holness simultaneously signaled his intention to employ US laws to apprehend offenders there who are encouraging local crime.
With little over three days remaining in the year, the nation had 1,481 homicides reported as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, a rise of 1.2% over the previous year.
In a series of meetings with representatives from the US Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement organizations during his five-day visit to the US capital in early December, Holness brought up the problem.
Holness noted, “the partnerships have usually been our partners utilizing our laws here to interdict criminals in which they have an interest.” He added, “what we have said is that we need to utilize these existing partnerships to be able to interdict criminals in foreign countries.”
He said that the police had provided the agencies with a list of the names of US-based offenders they had been monitoring and had “certain intelligence on.”
The PM claimed that the entities are now tackling this issue through committed work, while adding, “I don’t want to say too much, but you will see the results of our efforts very shortly,” he said.
The crime statistics for ongoing gang conflicts, contract killings, organized robberies of businesses, hijacking of goods in transit, and various scams that result in the loss of life, among other things, remain elevated and extensive, the prime minister claimed, despite “reasonable success” in reducing the number of murders in the run-up to Christmas.
The SOEs were officially declared for the fourth time this year on Wednesday.
He said that the most recent statements were chosen after careful consideration of the facts and information at hand, which revealed a pattern like that of the previous December when 127 murders were perpetrated in the month.
“The Government acted reasonably and decisively to save lives and preserve the freedoms of ordinary citizens,” noted Holness.
As the chairman of the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee, Lloyd Distant stated, “it is absolutely within the Government’s purview to determine when it needs to call a state of emergency” on the suggestion of the police commissioner and chief of the military staff.
Distant stated that while the total number of murders is disheartening, the December decline is “heartening.”
“Like all well-thinking Jamaicans, we had really hoped that this year, we would have seen a significant reduction. I’m pleased to hear that the numbers for [this] December are significantly lower than December 2021 … The commissioner has spoken to the use of the states of emergency, which were critical in enabling them to keep the numbers as low as they are,” Distant shared with The Gleaner.
Major General Antony Anderson, the police commissioner, stated that the SOEs were partially responsible for the dramatic decline in homicides.
Since the year’s beginning, Jamaica has averaged four homicides every day, according to Anderson.
According to him, this peaked in September, when there were on average over five murders every day.
According to Anderson, homicide rates rose by as much as 8% in September and October compared to the same months in 2021.
He said that since then, the daily murder rate has dropped to 2.5 and that the murder rate difference between last year and this year has decreased from a peak of 8% to now 1.5%.
The police commissioner noted, “This has been achieved through a suite of legislative, intelligence, and operational responses.”
According to Anderson, SOEs are the quickest and most efficient means to lower violent crime.
According to Anderson, killings decreased by about 64% during the first phase of the SOEs in November but then surged by 171% over the first seven days after the security measures were lifted.
When the powers were restored, losses of up to 55% were seen, he continued.
Anderson expounds on the importance to maximize on all the available resources there are in crippling the upraise of violence that the country faces as it welcomes a new year, “as we close this year and move into next year, it is critical for us to sustain the downward trend using all the tools that we know are effective in curbing the violence that we continue to see.”