CCTV helping reduce crime in Jamaica problem area

KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 31, 2009 – The installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in one of Jamaica’s crime affected parishes is paying off and the group responsible for their installation is suggesting that placing others across the rest of the island could put a serious dent in overall crime.

Director of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Robert Cunningham, said that data from the police show that the cameras installed in the town of Mandeville last month have helped in the seizure of 102 offensive weapons and arrests of persons for copyright violations. He said larceny was also down from at least four offences per day, to less than two per week.

A total of 110 traffic tickets were issued by the police within two days of the launch, for various traffic breaches, and has resulted in less congestion, he added.

“I feel strongly that this CCTV installation, complete with the establishment protocols, appraisal systems and measuring apparatus, can be duplicated in towns throughout Jamaica. Can you imagine the effect on crime? Understand that without this very basic human requirement for safety, we are going nowhere fast,” Cunningham said.

Deputy Superintendent at the Manchester Police Division, Gosford Cole, said the cameras have served to complement the police, and to help them strategically respond to potential law breaking.

“It would take about 50 police officers to accomplish what one police sitting at a desk can accomplish by just clicking on a mouse,” he explained.

“We have seen order in different areas; the pickpockets have moved out of town, and trade in illegal drugs has been reduced in Mandeville, due to the arrests and conviction of some offenders.”

The Manchester Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Ministry of National Security, and other stakeholders including the Manchester Parish Council, Service Clubs and individuals have embarked on a drive to reduce crime in the parish of Manchester, known as the Closed to Crime Initiative.