Tue | Mar 21, 2023

‘We need Jesus in every crime plan’

Manchester top cop seeks divine intervention, citizen partnership to stem lawlessness

Published:Monday | January 30, 2023 | 12:59 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

A 24 per cent increase in serious crimes in 2023 has helped spur the call from Manchester’s police commander for divine intervention and stronger police-citizen relations.

Eighteen break-ins and seven robberies up to January 28 continue to be a cause for concern for the security leadership of the central Jamaica parish. Three murders have been recorded so far and two other deaths are under investigation.

Superintendent Shane McCalla struck a religious chord at a church service Sunday, emphasising that the constabulary required supernatural force to quell crime.

“When we look at promoting partnership between the citizens of Manchester and the police, no partnership can exist without Jesus being the anchor, the centre, and the blood that runs through … we need Jesus in every crime plan,” he said.

McCalla, who was speaking at the police division’s worship service at Faith Claim Ministries in Greenvale – one of the parish’s crime hotspots – said that reliance on God was paramount to restoring the parish to its pre-crime wave era.

“It is now time for us to raise our hands that the Lord has given us in the fight against evil. There is no better [way] to describe evil [than] as evil, and it comes from the loins of Satan, and the only way to break that is through the blood of Jesus,” said McCalla.

He continued: “If God is with us, who shall we fear? No man, no evil, no gunman, no breaker, no lottery scammer, no rapist. What is missing from society is that we have forgotten to put Jesus at the centre of everything.”

Having recorded a total of 59 murders in 2022, the parish remained high on the police radar but was not among several areas that were placed under states of emergency late last year.

However, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had hinted that an upsurge in violent crime in the parish could merit imposition of the security crackdown.

This year has been more favourable nationally for the security forces, with Jamaica’s overall murders plummeting by 47 per cent to 61, compared to 116 as at January 28, 2022.

McCalla rallied the congregation to “get back to basics”, invoking a charge to “rise up in the name of Jesus”.

In recent weeks, the police and army have intensified crime-fighting efforts across the parish through curfews, deployment of an anti-gang task force, and peace walks.

Stakeholders are calling for residents to put aside fear and speak out against criminality.

“If we don’t give them (the police) the information they need, they will never be able to solve some of those crimes, and we in the community, we know. But we just have this informer-fi-dead culture,” said Councillor Rohan Kennedy, deputy mayor of Mandeville.

“If we continue that way, we are all going to die … . If we are to get back a safer Jamaica, it starts right here in Greenvale, in Manchester.”

Community mentor and manager for sport initiatives, Andrew Smith, reiterated the call for mentorship in order to steer youth from a life of crime.

“We at Greenvale, we open the doors to other communities who don’t have the facilities that we have. We welcome persons here and, as such, our youngsters can see persons doing something good and see role models in them,” Smith said.