THE latest operation by the security forces against gangs has set criminals running, to the point where some of them are dressing in women's clothing in an attempt to avoid capture, the police are reporting.
According to Superintendent Howard Chambers, head of operations in the St Catherine North Division, Operation Resilience — which started this month — has triggered an exodus of criminals from several communities, including Spanish Town and neighbouring areas.
Gangsters, Superintendent Chambers said, have gone into hiding, while "others are going as far as changing their identities and wearing women's clothing to pass through communities undetected".
The superintendent said that the police have also discovered that criminals are 'bleaching' their skin in an effort to beat the radar of the security forces.
"Those who had long hair or locks are cutting off their hair, while others are trying to grow beards to hide their identity," Chambers said.
He admitted that the strategies are not new, but he assured the public that the police will not ease up on the operation.
Superintendent Chambers spoke to the Jamaica Observer last Friday during a joint police/military operation in Lakes Pen and several volatile communities in St Catherine.
Police said during the operation approximately 30 persons, including two wanted men, were held.
One of the men, the cops said, was wanted for the 2011 murder of a man on Phoenix Avenue. The other man was wanted for a shooting incident.
Head of the St Catherine North Police Division, Senior Superintendent Anthony Castelle, said a car-stealing ring was also smashed during the operation last week.
"Six stolen vehicles were seized during the raid in the area," said Castelle.
No one was arrested.
The operation came a day after a 60-year-old man was brutally gunned down in a community called Lime Tree Oval.
Police said the man, Winston 'Ronnie' McLean, was apparently riding in a sparsely populated section of the community at about 11:30 am when he was attacked.
Police said McLean could have fallen victim to an ongoing gang feud in the area.