West still bleeding despite ZOSO and SOE -118 murders between January 1 to May
Despite having a zone of special operations and a state of emergency in force in western Jamaica, the latest Jamaica Constabulary Force Periodic Crime Statistics Review continues to paint an ugly picture of the region, with well above 100 murders occurring during the first four months of the year.
A senior police official, who asked not to be identified in the story, has suggested that had it not been for the intervention measures - particularly in St James, which has experienced more than 50 per cent reduction in murders for the comparative period last year - the situation would be significantly worse.
"When you look at the kind of weapons that we have been taking from criminals such as the rifles seized in Flankers and Ramble Hill, the body count would have been at war-zone levels," the lawman said. "With more resources, we could do much more, but that is a matter for the politicians to fix."
In the period under review, there have been 118 murders across the parishes of St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and Trelawny, which many argue is not a major reduction when compared to the 176 for the corresponding period last year, when a significant police-military presence is factored in.
"We can't deny that it is still high. We have to take into consideration the fact that violence producers such as Ryan 'Ratty' Peterkin, Nico 'Bowza' Samuels, and that dangerous 15-year-old from Flankers are no longer out there killing people," the police source said. "While this is something the tourism sector might not want to hear, it is going to be a long, painstaking fight to win this war against the criminals because in some cases, communities have accepted them," the police officer said.