Jamaica’s homicide rate increased substantially last year with 1,463 murders. Jamaica Constabulary Force said this was 132 or almost 10 percent more than the murder total for 2020.
The troubled St Andrew South Police Division, which covers more than 20 inner-city communities, accounted for 164 murders in 2021, the most in any single police division.
In 2020 the St Andrew South Police Division also had the dubious distinction of the most murders across the island with 143. Last year represented an almost 15 percent increase. It had several curfews and a short-lived state of emergency.
Westmoreland, with 128 murders, recorded the biggest increase last year, a 60 percent jump over the 80 murders reported in 2020.
In addition, the Kingston Central Police Division, where a bloody conflict is playing out between criminals linked to the Genasyde and Darkside gangs, saw a 55 percent increase in murders.
In communities dubbed Tel Aviv, South Side, Spoilers, and Rae Town, are well below a number of other police divisions.
An emotional Prime Minister Andrew Holness lamented the crime epidemic, saying he goes to his bed at nights with the murders of innocent Jamaicans on his conscience.
Addressing the congregation at the annual ‘Heal the Family, Heal the Nation’ National Day of Prayer service in Portmore, St Catherine, Holness made reference to the murder of 10-year-old Jezariah Tyrell in Central Kingston and the double-murder of two brothers in Westmoreland, which happened in the last week.
Holness said that he has tried his best to put measures in place to fight crime, but hasn’t received enough support from the opposition, People’s National Party.
“It’s a minefield. I have to wonder, are they in support of the criminals in the country? The 10-year-old didn’t have to die, man. We had the state of emergency down there; we put it in Westmoreland. The two brothers never had to die.”