Black Immigrant Daily News
Seventy people have been arrested and charged since the new Firearms Act, with its more punitive sentences including a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life imprisonment, took effect in November.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, disclosed this while speaking during a Jamaica House press briefing, where Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced states of emergency (SOEs) for the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann as well as St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.
Anderson shared that the 70 individuals, which include 63 males and seven females, were arrested and charged between November 1 and December 20.
“The majority [are] in the 16-30 age group,” Anderson revealed.
The country’s top cop said he was “looking forward to the impact that the new sentencing provisions will have”.
Meanwhile, in justifying his decision to request another round of SOEs, Anderson highlighted that Jamaica has experienced a daily average of four murders this year.
“This peaked in September when the daily average reached nearly five murders,” he said.
The commissioner said September and October recorded increases as high as eight per cent when compared to 2021 figures. He noted, too, that since then, significant reductions have been achieved through a suite of legislative, operational and intelligence-driven responses, which include the use of SOEs and the enactment of the new Firearms Act.
Anderson insisted that the use of SOEs continues to be the quickest way to reduce violent crimes, in particular murders. He said that during the first period of the SOEs declared in November, murders were reduced by as much as 64 per cent “and increased by as much as 171 per cent during the seven-day period when the emergency powers were removed”.
“When the powers were reinstituted, the seven-day period once again recorded declines as high as 55 per cent in the divisions where the SOEs were declared and continued to trend downward,” he said.
A total of 1,481 people have been murdered in Jamaica up to Wednesday, Anderson said. This is an increase of 1.32 per cent when compared to the corresponding period in 2021.