Police officials reported a decrease in murders and the seizure of illegal weapons in most parishes that remain under a state of emergency (SOE) as of Tuesday, August 20. In Hanover, Westmoreland, and St. James parishes, officers have seized 33 illegal firearms and over 3700 rounds of ammunition. At least nine suspected high-ranking criminals have also been arrested during an increase in operations since the declaration of the SOEs in April. According to official statistics, St. James is the only parish in 2019 to not experience a reduction in murders. The SOEs remain in effect for Hanover, Westmoreland, and St. James until October 28. Heightened security measures and an increase in police operations are to be expected in the parishes until the SOEs expire.
A SOE is also in place in St. Andrew South Police Division until October 5.
States of Public Emergency have been implemented intermittently across multiple parishes, including St. James, since January 2018 due to rising crime rates. During "states of emergency," police and military personnel are given the authority to search people and buildings, curtail business hours, and detain individuals without a warrant.
Individuals present in the aforementioned areas, and across greater 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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