Minister of National Security Peter Bunting is today congratulating the security forces on a record month in terms of murder reduction.
“The murder rate March 2012 is the lowest it has been since February 2003, and although 69 murders in one month is still too high, we are encouraged, as this is a significant step in the right direction,” he said.
The minister said there are a number of initiatives which contributed to this reduction, including increased deployment of Mobile Reserve and JDF personnel in St. Catherine North, and this division has seen a substantial decline in murders; heightened focus on the lotto scammers in St. James and Hanover resulting in dozens of arrests and assets valued millions of dollars confiscated; and the anti-gang media communications campaign that has been running during the month, and seeks to de-legitimize these criminal organizations within communities.
“This outcome reflects the hard work and strategic planning of a very committed joint JCF/JDF high command and the efforts of dedicated and brave men and women on the front line. We are still facing challenging times ahead, and we will not reach our goal of less than one murder per day by incrementalism, but by continually challenging ourselves with aggressive goals. For this reason, ‘69’ is the new benchmark we will be seeking to better in the months to come,” Bunting said”
The minister has been hosting community outreach meetings in the past weeks to solicit input from local residents and businesses in this fight to contain the murder figure. So far the minister has met with residents of Yallahs, St Thomas in a town hall setting, where he sought to bring about greater harmony between the police and the residents.
Last Thursday, he hosted a Domestic Violence and Risk Management forum in Manchester, where he formed a task force of community stakeholders and residents, and charged them to go into the communities and become first responders to domestic situations, which could escalate to violence.