The clarification comes amidst widespread protest from the residents of Mount Salem as well as the political opposition that the murder figures put forward by the government in support of its rationale for choosing Mount Salem as the first Zone of Special Operations bore no resemblance to reality.
The National Security Council (NSC) at its meeting earlier this week, admitted to using erroneous murder figures as part of the criteria in declaring Mount Salem a high crime zone.
At the announcement of the first ZOSO, Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake said that murders in the Mount Salem area rose from 46 in 2014 to 85 in 2016, and 54 so far this year, with 12 known gangs operating in the community.
The following is the full text of the press release from the police:
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), after reviewing the statistics presented publicly at the announcement of the first Zone of Special Operations on Friday, September 1, wishes to clarify that in the Mount Salem Zone, there were:
2015 - 4 murders and 11 shootings
2016 - 9 murders and 10 shootings in 2016
2017 - 7 Murders and 8 shootings
The area of the Zone of Special Operations is approximately 0.4 kilometres square, has a population of about 3,500 residents with a murder rate of 190 per 100,000.
This is four times the national average.
The data clearly shows escalating violent incidents in the Zone.
In terms of measuring the risk of proliferation and projection of organised violence in an area its environs, the JCF identifies and monitors the number gangs who base themselves in the area.
Our intelligence has identified four (4) gangs based in the Zone.
3. The Temple
4. The Alliance
Additionally, we have identified 8 splinter/minor gangs that operate and/or base themselves in the declared Zone.
1. Katan Lane
2. Nation Crocs (Affiliates)
3. Green Tank (Affiliates)
4. G City (Affiliates)
5. Texas Faction
6. Bronx Faction
7. OG Gangsters
8. Blake Family
The presence of gangs drive conflicts and violence within the declared space and creates informal and illegal systems to capture and control the people and community.
The public should bear in mind that aside from internal havoc, these gangs have created an intricate criminal network which has tentacles that stretch outward to other communities, exerting influence and spreading fear by using violence in support of their criminal enterprise.
The geographical occurrence of crimes within a declared Zone may have its origination and perpetuation outside the zone, and likewise crimes committed outside the zone may have their origination and perpetuation from within the zone.
As a result, in considering the crime situation affecting a community, we must also consider the crime situation in adjoining areas.
The original report of the JCF concentrated on violence in the police district which includes the declared area along with other communities.
The violence situation in the police area is as follows:
2014 – 20 murders and 26 Shootings
2015 – 35 murders and 35 Shootings
2016 – 39 murders and 46 Shootings
2017 – 27 murders and 27 Shootings
The data above clearly shows that violence within the police area is escalating.
The interconnected nature of criminal activity and the presence of organised criminal gangs suggest strongly the need for intervention.
It should also be clarified, that during the presentation of the data, murders and shooting were conflated to give a violent incident index, however this was inadvertently presented as murders alone.
The JCF acknowledges, that residents and communities should not be unfairly stigmatised and support and therefore supports the residents’ thrusts to have the data clarified.
- Countries: Jamaica