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JA’s murder rate down

Regional 13 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Sandals are havens for vacationers to Jamaica

The Jamaican Defence Force on operations

Jamaica’s alarming murder rate has decreased for the first time in years although figures are still high for such a small island.

Police report a 22 percent decline in major crimes to 31 March 2023, when compared to the corresponding period last year, with murders declining by 21 percent.

Major General Antony Anderson, Commissioner of Police, announced that shootings had declined by 13 percent; rapes, 47 percent; robberies, 32 percent and break-ins, 11 percent. He believes gang violence is being tackled much better than before.

Figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force show that there were 303 murders compared to 382 for the same period ending March last year. There were 354 shootings against 291 last year

Anderson said the JCF will continue to partner with key agencies as well as provide the requisite support to enable its members to carry out their duties efficiently.

Anderson urged Jamaicans to continue working with the police and provide information to rid their communities of criminals.

He said: “We have been seeing encouraging signs that communities are less willing to accept criminals in their midst. The strategy of our commanders and their teams to be closer to their communities and build relationships is working. We do not regard these efforts as an event but as an ongoing part of our policing plan.”

Despite political instability and the still high crime rates, which have led the Government to instate a State of Emergency, Jamaica continues to break tourism records, and it is on track to attain an 11 percent growth in 2023. Seeing that the US is the strongest market for foreign visitors, Americans, especially black ones, seem not particularly worried about security risks vacationing on the island.

Despite official figures, in recent months, Jamaica has nevertheless been rocked by a wave of violence fuelled by an increase in gang activity, especially in areas where police presence is limited and the establishment of paramilitary groups could not be curbed. Instability is so high that in December 2022, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a State of Emergency in nine out of 14 parishes.

Even in touristy spots like Saint James, where Montego Bay is located, were not spared. What’s more worrying is that the extreme measure, which leads to a rise in police raids and subsequently intercommunity violence, had been enforced by Holness before, several times.

The majority of Americans traveling to Jamaica seek a do-nothing vacation in a coastal paradise — preferably all-inclusive, like the celebrated Sandals resorts. They have little, if any, interest in exploring off-path areas where gang conflict and local crime is rampant. Jamaica is, after all, primarily a beach destination, and incidents taking place inside resorts are rare. Reggae lovers flock to the island too, for its music culture, shows and festivals.

The world-class service offered at Jamaica’s upscale hotels, particularly in Montego Bay, is also why it is so popular; with famous resorts like the Half Moon, Secrets St James, Deja, and the Sandals Royal Caribbean for their impressive amenities and architecture.

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