Police officials have announced a significant reduction in crime in Saint James parish, attributed to the implementation of Enhanced Security Measures (formally referred to as the state of emergency). On Wednesday, March 7, the Deputy Superintendent reported that between January 18 and February 28, 916 people were detained. Out of the 916 suspects, 65 were charged with criminal offenses and another 24 remain in detention. The Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) also announced that Saint James parish has recorded only 12 murders this year, which is less than half the number reported during the same period in 2017. A continued heightened security presence and consequent traffic disruptions are expected throughout St. James parish, including in Montego Bay, at least until May 2.
The Jamaican government declared a state of emergency for St. James parish following security operations that occurred in the early morning hours of January 18. Soldiers from the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) set up checkpoints to stop and search vehicles along major roads, particularly around Montego Bay. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the operation was intended to reduce rising crime in the country. According to the St. James police, there were 335 murders in the parish in 2017 - 67 more than were recorded in 2016.
Individuals present in St. James parish, particularly in Montego Bay, are advised to remain vigilant, follow all instructions issued by the local authorities, and take basic security precautions (e.g. keep signs of wealth concealed, drive with doors locked and windows rolled up, etc.) when traveling outside of resort areas.
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