MONTEGO BAY, St James - The St James police are attributing the recent spike in the murder of females in the parish largely to their link with gangsters.
Up to last Thursday, some 302 people were murdered in St James since the start of the year, 24 of whom were females.
A large number of the 24 were killed over the past month.
“What we have seen is that these persons are seen to be associated with persons who are somewhat involved in the many conflicts that exist,” said Superintendent Michael Phipps, crime officer for Area One.
“They (females) are seen as soft targets.”
However, he disclosed that investigators are actively pursuing some of the perpetrators of the murders.
“We have been doing our investigations in trying to identify most of the persons who are involved in the killings and otherwise causing injuries to our females. We are at the point now where we have identified a number of persons and we will be going after them,” Superintendent Phipps stressed.
He was speaking at a press conference at the Freeport Police Station, following a tour, led by Commissioner of Police George Quallo, of several troubled communities in St James on Thursday.
Last month, the community of Cambridge in St James was left reeling following the killing of three women within a 48-hour period, in two separate incidents, which the police at the time said were unrelated.
The latest victim was identified as 17-year-old Roxanne Daley.
Reports are that on Monday, November 22, at about 11:30 am, Daley was heading towards a house in the community when she was pounced upon and shot by unknown assailants.
The killing came less than 48 hours after the brutal gun slaying of 44-year-old Ann Marie Johnson and her 24-year-old daughter, Shantoy McKenzie, both of Mother Lane in Cambridge.
Meanwhile, in other parishes in the Police's Area One, which covers Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, women, also featured among the murder victims.
For instance, up to last Thursday when Westmoreland recorded 132 murders, the figure included 17 females; the Hanover murder tally stood at 55 of which 11 were females, while three females were among the 20 murdered in Trelawny.
According to Donovan Graham, the assistant commissioner of police in charge of the Area One police division, “33 gangs are operating in St James of which 10 are very active”.
“We would have seen the spaces of Barrett Town, Lilliput, Flanker, Norwood, Salt Spring, Rose Heights Cambridge, just to name a few, that continues to play out their gang activities within the spaces,” ACP Graham stated.
Meanwhile, Phipps argued that “it is important to note that these gang activities include lotto scamming as well”.
“They are tied together, there is a connection between the gangs and lotto scamming. Most of the gang members are major players in the lotto scamming activities out here in St James,” Superintendent Phipps said.