Murder rate on track to increase again

There have been more than 600 murders in 2015, which puts the country on track to increase its annual murder rate to about 1,200. Last year, it was at the lowest level in several years, at 1,005. Authorities attribute the increase in the murder rate to the lottery scam and identify the parish of St. James as the source of most of the problem.

However, in a desperate spinning attempt, the Minister of National Security says that other crime rates such as rape, “accusatory crimes” and others have decreased. How do you feel good about any of this? Why even attempt to spin it?

In Parliament yesterday, the Minister outlined a new strategy for combatting crime, which includes more vehicles on the road, (60 motor bikes, 45 patrol cars, 27 pickup trucks, four trucks and three buses) an audit of all firearms, upgrade of the fingerprint system and more social interventions. More wheels on the road, knowing how many guns police have, better tracking systems for criminals and increased presence in vulnerable communities. It just seems authorities are always running to catch up to criminals.

Here are Minister Bunting’s words from Parliament:

“For almost five years since 2011, Jamaica has averaged about 1,100 murders per year well below the all time peak of 1,692 in 2009. While the average has been around 1,100 the actual figures have been within a band of 1,000 to 1,200. Last year was the lowest in a very long time recording 1,005 murders.\

If we continue at the same rate as the first half of the year, the 2015 figures will end at approximately the 2013 figure of 1,200.
We are all very concerned about reversing the gains we made last year, but those of us who have been studying this problem over many years understand that progress will not always be on a straight line basis. There will be setbacks.

Paradoxically, the figures for other categories of serious and violent crimes are all down. Shootings are down by 8%, Rape down by 25%, and Aggravated Assault down by 14%. Acquisitory crimes or robberies are also down by 16%.

So what we are experiencing this year is not a general surge in crime but rather a spike in murders.”

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