Violent crime rates have started to drop in some areas of Jamaica as of early June following months of significant police operations. According to a police commissioner, there was an overall 9.6 percent fall in “serious” and “violent” crimes during through the first five months of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. The Saint James and Saint Catherine North police divisions, which are currently under state of emergency (SOE), have both shown a decrease in the number of murders and shootings. However, on Wednesday, June 13, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that new Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) may be declared in the Saint Andrew South police division due to rising levels of violence. The ZOSO would include the areas of Mount Salem, Saint James, Denham Town, and western Kingston and would remain in effect for 60 days.
During the SOE, police and military personnel are given the authority to search people and buildings, cut business hours, and detain individuals without a warrant.
The SOE for Saint James parish will remain in effect until at least August 2, and in Saint Catherine until July 3. Authorities launched major police operations on January 18 in both parishes to combat a significant rise in crime.
Individuals present in Saint James and Saint Catherine parishes, as well as those throughout Jamaica, are advised to remain vigilant, follow all instructions issued by local authorities, and exercise basic security precautions (e.g. keep signs of wealth concealed, drive with doors locked and windows rolled up, etc.).
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