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Police to clamp down on ‘dangerous’ illegal parties

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Police to clamp down on ‘dangerous’ illegal parties

Friday, December 04, 2020

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ORGANISERS of “dangerous” illegal parties and gatherings were on Wednesday put on notice by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson that special arrangements are in place to clamp down on these events, which he says are contributing significantly to the country’s crime problem.

The revelation was made at a Jamaica Constabulary Force virtual press briefing during which Anderson addressed journalists.

He said, in recent weeks, there has been an “uptick in violence”, even as the country recorded a two per cent reduction in murders, a 15.5 per reduction in rape, a 17.7 per cent reduction in robberies, and an 18 per cent reduction in break-ins when compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

Shootings are up by 1.4 per cent when compared to a similar period last year, he said.

The statistics were recorded up to November 30.

The top cop said from the police’s analysis, three categories account for the increase in crime — gang-related activities, illegal parties and domestic violence.

“We’ve seen what has happened in recent times at illegal gatherings and parties. These have been focal points for shootings and other violent acts. People are aware of the one in Westmoreland; there was one in Braeton and also an event that took place in Grants Pen,” the commissioner said.

Anderson said that there have been other, less publicised events that have also yielded violence.

“Now, what the public may not appreciate, and I think it’s important that I bring this to persons’ attention, is that under [a] normal application for events under the Noise Abatement Act, [it] allows police to be aware and do background checks on the promoters of these events and also on the venues,” he said, adding that, once approved, the police are able to monitor the event.

The commissioner noted, at the same time, that illegal gatherings “offer no such advanced notice and, therefore, are inherently more dangerous”.

Anderson said from now until January, specific measures will be instituted, as well as response teams, to enforce this aspect of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) and the Noise Abatement Act.

Under the DRMA, parties are banned in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and public gatherings are restricted to 15 people.

“This is an area that the public can assist greatly in, by advising us through 119 that an event is happening. We also urge persons not to attend such gatherings because the normal safety that us monitoring these events allows is not there,” said Anderson.

— Kimone Francis

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