The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) has said residents of St. James need to play a greater role in the fight against crime and violence in the parish.
The data from the police show that there were 48 murders in St. James up to Saturday, compared to 29 for the similar period in 2018.
This represents a 65.5 per cent increase over last year.
Chairman of the Violence Prevention Alliance Dr. Elizabeth Ward said there needs to be greater effort by the security forces to rid communities in St. James of illegal guns which account for many murders, but at the same time, community members who know where the guns are, should speak up to assist the police.
"Even when the SOEs are in place we are not finding the guns, so we have to have all the components working together and we have to get communities to own the peace and to be part of the peace, not depending on the secuirty forces to enforce the peace and reduce violence in the community," Dr. Ward said.
She noted that the number of illegal firearms seized under the months-long State of Public Emergency was minimal.
Data from the police show that 227 illegal firearms were seized from January 1 to Saturday, April 20.
Last year, 230 illegal firearms were seized during the similar period.
Among those seized were six submachine guns, 21 rifles, eight shot guns, 132 pistols, 41 revolvers and 19 home made guns.
Some 3,429 rounds of ammunition were seized compared to 3,924 rounds of ammunition last year.