During a press conference on Tuesday, September 17, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced a one-month extension to the state of emergency (SOE) in St. Catherine and Clarendon parishes due to rising crime rates. The SOEs will remain in effect until Saturday, October 19, but can be extended by Parliament. Businesses are therefore required to close each day by 22:00 (local time). Since introducing the SOEs, murder and shooting rates decreased by 73 percent between September 5-11, according to police officials. Police officials have recorded 948 murders and 908 shooting incidents across 19 police divisions since the start of 2019. Much of the violence has been attributed to conflict between gangs. Heightened security measures and an increase in police operations are to be expected in the affected parishes until the SOEs expire.
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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