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Police reassure West Kgn residents

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 05, 2014    

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POLICE responsible for maintaining law and order in West Kingston's tough neighbourhoods yesterday sought to assure residents that they were making gains in their campaign to crush violent gangs that have been wreaking havoc in the communities.

"We want to alert the people in West Kingston and the wider Jamaica that the police are making headway in clamping down on crime in the area," said Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor.

"The changes will not come overnight; it is work in progress, but the results are coming," McGregor added.

McGregor made the appeal in the aftermath of the shooting of four people in West Kington between Friday night and

Saturday morning.

According to the police, in the first incident, three men were injured when armed thugs invaded a section of Tivoli Gardens called Levy Park, Friday night.

Just under eight hours later, a woman was shot in Denham Town.

Police said that the violent acts are being carried out by gangs that were once united but are now fighting each other for turf in an effort to resume a lucrative extortion racket that operated under former Tivoli Gardens don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Coke is serving a 23-year prison sentence in the United States after being extradited in 2010 and pleading guilty to racketeering.

Coke was captured weeks after police and soldiers fought gunmen in Tivoli for three days in an effort to arrest him.

Police said that, before that operation, business owners in downtown Kingston were forced to pay millions of dollars in so-called protection money to the criminals, who used the funds to run their illegal activities.

Yesterday, SSP McGregor vowed that the gangs would not be allowed to resume the extortion activities.

"Those days are long gone and will never be allowed to return in West Kingston as the police have put in place a number of measures to ensure that it (extortion) will never be allowed to thrive," he said.

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