Head of Police Area One, Assistant Commissioner Donovan Graham, has expressed alarm at the large number of children between the ages of 12 and 18 who have been arrested for serious crimes in the last two years.
The crimes, which he said were category one crimes, include: murder, shooting, rape, robbery, larceny, and aggravated assault.
According to statistics disclosed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Graham, between September 2015 and the end of September this year, 1,400 children committed serious crimes.
During this time, he said that 192 children were arrested for murder, 232 for rape, 152 arrested for shooting, 364 arrested for robbery, and 256 were arrested for breaking and entering.
Boys accounted for the lion’s share of the crimes, said the ACP, who was speaking at an installation ceremony of the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay on Thursday.
“We see where our children are at the centre of many policing issues, especially around crime and violence. We have seen where they are involved in violent crimes and, in many instances, they’re abused and continue to be victims of crime,” bemoaned the ACP, who was transferred to Area One two-and-a-half months ago.
Meanwhile, the senior cop said that children will play an integral role in the achievement of Vision 2030.
“Vision 2030 speaks to having Jamaica as the place to work, do business and raise families. However, very critical to this vision is the role that our children, who are our future leaders, will play in this process,” he noted.
“A strategy aimed at addressing the various issues surrounding the children is being developed by the Community, Safety and Security Branch of the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force),” he added.
Challenging Kiwanians to continue to assist with the nation’s children, ACP Graham said: “Your motto, ‘Changing the world, one child, one community at a time’ is very fitting and must be encouraged.”
The installation ceremony was held at the Grandiosa Hotel in St James.