MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Head of the Manchester Police Division Superintendent Shane McCalla and Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Rhoda Crawford are in agreement on how to approach rising crime in the parish.
McCalla and Crawford told journalists on Monday, during a peace walk in Comfort and Landsettlement (south of Mandeville), that tighter security measures are needed to restore order in the parish.
The police imposed a curfew over the weekend in Comfort, Landsettlement and Broadleaf in the parish to prevent reprisals following at least two murders including a suspected reprisal killing.
Superintendent McCalla said the peace walk was aimed at reassuring residents and businesspeople following the curfew, which expired on Monday morning.
“I also understand that some businesspeople might have found the measure [curfew] a little bit rough on businesses. We just want to ask the public to understand and share in the strategies that we are trying to implement while we work to keep them safe,” said McCalla.
“While we try to make the space safe, sometimes it is necessary to use what is at our disposal through the legal avenues to make the necessary changes and strategies that will make sure that everybody in the community can be able to live and move about freely. As you can see, we are trying to ensure that we implement as many strategies. Community policing is the key thing for us as we move into making 2023 a much better year than it was in 2022,” added McCalla.
He said there will be increased targeted operations with external forces being deployed in search of criminals in the parish.
“The specialised operations and the joint anti-gang task force, they have been deployed in the parish as of yesterday [Sunday] and they have started to carry out targeted operations in a number of communities [in search] of people who we have on our radar as persons of interests and also people who we know are associated with other illicit activities,” he said.
Manchester recorded a significant increase in major crimes including murders, shootings and robberies in 2022 when compared to 2021. Since the start of this year, the south-central parish has been rocked by crime having an increase in murders up to Sunday, January 22 when compared to the corresponding period last year. Statistics from the police show that five people have been murdered in Manchester since the start of the year when compared to two for the same period in 2022.
In the meantime, Crawford said the security measures which have been imposed in her constituency are necessary even as she said she understood the concerns of the businesspeople.
“We have to strike a balance, if it is that we want to see the reduction and we want Manchester and the communities to return to the peaceful havens they were before, we have to be willing to offer some short-term inconveniences for long-term solutions,” she said.