Jamaica is deploying more than 700 police officers to high-crime areas over the holiday season as the island nears a record number of killings.

Assistant Police Chief Glenmore Hinds says officers will patrol malls, bus stations and other busy spots across the island's 14 parishes.

He said Wednesday that some officers have been reassigned from desk duties while others are recent academy graduates.

Police expect to launch a new anti-gang initiative after recently announcing that nearly 1,600 killings have been reported so far this year, slightly more than all of 2008.

A record 1,674 persons were killed in Jamaica in 2005.

The island has one of the world's highest murder rates