OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Predators posing as taxi drivers are among groups responsible for a slight uptick in the number of reported rapes in St Ann so far this year, causing the parish police to issue an often-repeated warning to commuters.
Since the start of 2023 the parish has recorded 13 rape-related incidents, compared to 10 during the corresponding period last year.
“We are saying to young people: ‘Do not travel with people that you are not acquainted with. Please take the necessary precautions so that way we can ensure we keep down the numbers,'” urged Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell, who is in charge of policing in the parish.
Close family members also made the lawman’s list of offenders.
“When we look at the figure, we seem to be having challenges with caregivers leaving their children with persons that cannot be trusted. In some cases stepfathers and other relatives are the perpetrators in these incidents,” said Powell.
He was speaking during the monthly sitting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation on Thursday.
“So I’m saying to parents that the care and protection of their children is paramount and they need to take that into consideration,” the lawman added.
St Ann is also having challenges with murders, which have been trending upwards. Thirty-three have been recorded since the start of the year when compared to 20 for the comparative period in 2022.
According to the senior superintendent, domestic disputes remain an issue despite efforts to offer support to parish residents.
“A vast number of our murders are from domestic-related situations. We have spoken about it, we have taken to the community and engaged our various partners to find mitigating measures to see how best we can curtail these situations,” Powell said.
Reprisal-related killings are also of concern to the police.
“From the 33 murders, we are seeing that 10 are coming out of revenge. We are still not settling whatever differences we have and we need to find more amicable ways to settle our disputes,” Powell added.
Despite the uptick in rapes and murders, there has been an overall reduction in major crimes in St Ann, the superintendent pointed out.