Above: Minister of National Security Peter Bunting (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The murder rate in March was the lowest in Jamaica since February 2003, according to National Security Minister Peter Bunting.
There were a total of 69 murders last month.
“Although 69 murders in one month is still too high, we are encouraged, as this is a significant step in the right direction,” Bunting said in a statement.
The Minister said a number of factors contributed to the reduction, including increased deployment of JDF personnel and mobile reserve in the St Catherine North area, which saw a particular decline in murders; heightened focus on lotto scammers in St James and Hanover, leading to the seizure of millions of dollars and an anti-gang media communications campaign.
“This outcome reflects the hard work and strategic planning of a very committed joint JCF/JDF high command and the efforts of dedicated and brave men on the front line,” Bunting said.
“We are still facing challenging times ahead, and we will not reach our goal of less than one murder per day by incrementalism, but by continually challenging ourselves with aggressive goals.”
He said the total of 69 would be the new benchmark the Ministry would seek to better over the coming months.
In recent weeks, Bunting has been holding community outreach meetings to solicit input from local residents in Yallahs, St Thomas and Manchester, where he hosted a forum on domestic violence and risk management.