Reduction in crime in St Catherine North — security minister

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, says there has been a reduction in crime in the St Catherine North Division, since the declaration of the state of public emergency in March.

He was speaking in interview with JIS News, following a tour of sections of St Catherine North yesterday.

Chang applauded the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, saying that he was pleased with the work undertaken to restore peace and rebuild trust with the citizens living and operating in the parish.

“The state of public emergency is helping with saving lives and every life we save is a plus. Spanish Town has ended up with some very serious criminal activities, which have become endemic, and we are going to find a way to remove them,” he stated.

“As indicated, North St Catherine had a homicide rate before this of almost one a day. We are down to almost zero now,” he added.

Police statistics show that the Division has recorded the highest number of homicides this year with 48 persons being murdered between January 1 and March 18. In addition, there were 136 murders in the Division last year.

During his tour of the area, Chang visited the National Police College of Jamaica in Twickenham Park; Tamarind Farm Correctional Centre; and the Police Post located at the Spanish Town Transport Centre.

Meanwhile, the security minister said the Government will continue to offer support to members of the St Catherine North Police Division.
“We want to give you the support and let you know that this administration is not putting weight on the police force as a body to pull them down. I want to lift you up,” Chang told JIS News.

“We really appreciate the work being done and the effort that has gone in, are bringing the results. We can’t keep it forever, but when we come out of it, we hope we would have established the foundation we can build on,” he added.

Chang also spent time listening to persons who were detained under the State of Public Emergency.

“Discussions with the young men were not hostile. They would like to get back on the road naturally, but they understand that we had to take steps to cauterize the criminal activities out here,” he said.

Also present on tour was the Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, and other members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The state of public emergency in St Catherine North is the second such following a similar declaration in St James in January.

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