DNA success?

Cops increase use of samples after method helps nab man accused of killing 89-y-o

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, November 18, 2017



COMMISSIONER of Police George Quallo yesterday said that the police will be moving to increase the use of DNA to link perpetrators to crimes.

This, after a man was arrested and charged for the murder of 89-year-old Nettie Rowe in Salem, Runaway Bay, St Ann in May.

Quallo, who was speaking at a press conference at the Office of the Police Commissioner on Old Hope Road in St Andrew, said that the Jamaica Constabulary Force is seeing greater success in recent times, especially with the use of DNA.

“We have made arrests in a number of cases that led to widespread public outcry. You will recall the murder of 89-year-old Nettie Rowe, a pensioner who was killed in Salem, St Ann earlier this year. This one drew public outcry from citizens far and wide. I am happy to report that with the use of DNA samples, one man has since been positively linked and he has since been charged,” Quallo told journalists.

Rowe was found in her home around 11:30 am with multiple stab wounds to the chest. The police said it appeared that the elderly woman may have been sexually assaulted. The body was reportedly discovered by a relative who had recently returned from overseas.

“…We are not where we want to be. Crime and violence have hampered the country's growth and development over many years,” the top cop said, adding that the police are working feverishly to reduce incidents of violence.

At the same time, Quallo said that 1,404 lives have been snuffed out so far this year. This is in comparison to the 1,137 people murdered last year over the same period. This represents an increase of 267 or 23.5 per cent.

Quallo said that guns are the preferred weapon of choice for criminals, with the police seizing 760 illegal ones in comparison to 543 in 2016 and 512 in 2015. As of November 11, the police have seized 20,912 rounds of ammunition compared to the 7,552 seized in 2016 and 9,569 in 2015. The figure for this year shows that 217 more illegal firearms were seized this year than in 2016.

“While we are doing a lot in the JCF to stem the high incidence of crime and violence, maintain law and order and uphold the peace, criminal and gang activities continue to be a feature in a number of communities across the island. Our efforts are made even more challenging by some of these variables.”

The police commissioner said that the general acceptance of violence among some community members — many of whom are beneficiaries of the proceeds of crime — fear of reprisals, reluctance of individuals to participate in the witness protection programme even when offered, inadequate human and physical resources to effectively cover the number of current and emerging hot spots, as well as an absence of the requisite social infrastructure to support law enforcement activities, all contribute to the crime wave sweeping the island.

He added that approximately 500 policemen and women resign from the Jamaica Constabulary Force each year.

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