There have been major reductions in murder and other serious crimes in the seven communities that have so far been declared Zones of Special Operation (ZOSO), Prime Minister Andrew Holness has stated.
“The outlook for these communities is promising,” said Holness on Thursday as he moved a resolution in the House of Representatives that saw the seven ZOSOs being extended for an additional 60 days.
The communities under a ZOSO are Denham Town and Parade Gardens in Kingston; Greenwich Town and August Town in St Andrew; Norwood and Mount Salem in St James; and Savanna-la-Mar South in Westmoreland.
The prime minister told the House that as at April 11, the Parade Gardens and Savanna-la-Mar ZOSOs had recorded no murders or shootings since their respective declarations.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (file photo)
A further breakdown of the crime situations in the ZOSOs show the following:
64 per cent reduction in murders
68 per cent reduction in shootings
26 per cent reduction in murders
44 per cent reduction in shootings
22 per cent reduction in murders
27 per cent reduction in shootings
53 per cent reduction in murders
71 per cent reduction in shootings
83 per cent reduction in murders
100 per cent reduction in shootings
Holness said but for a recent event in Norwood, the Montego Bay community would have experienced a 100 per cent reduction in murders.
“The partnership in these communities has been historic and impactful, and will continue to be encouraged as a necessity in safeguarding against a return to pre-zone declaration states,” he added.
“The undeniable value of the Zones of Special Operation is impatient of debates, and the fact is they are desired by the residents in the affected communities,” the prime minister further stated.
He lamented that despite significant gains that have been made in tackling the crime problem island-wide, the recent spate of drive-by shootings and incidents involving motorcycles continue to be disconcerting. He said the Government will not relent, and will employ the necessary measures to ensure that Jamaicans are safe, especially those in the most vulnerable communities.