Shottas loose

Residents fearful as gang rivalry heats up in Clarendon

Friday, April 14, 2017

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GANGS operating across Clarendon are driving fear into residents who say it is only a matter of time before something disastrous happens.


Residents from Sevens Road, also known as Farm, Effortville, and John Crow Lane, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer on condition of anonymity, said rivalry among gangs has created an "unreasonable" amount of unease throughout the different communities in the southern parish.


The police force’s Clarendon Divisional Investigative Unit has identified 12 gangs operating in the parish. Of the 1,352 murders recorded across the island in 2016, 135 were committed in Clarendon.


"The problem is them a shoot after them one another and people can get caught up in it. That is my concern. A lot of it is reprisal killings," one resident told the Observer.


The resident said what is even more alarming is that "drugs men" overseas are allegedly ordering a number of the killings in the parish.


For the period January 1 to April 9 this year, 358 murders have been committed in the island, 30 of which were in Clarendon. That number has quickly climbed to at least 33 murders in the parish, with the latest being two brothers who were shot dead on Thursday. Up to April 9 last year, 40 murders were committed in Clarendon.


"The police know them. Is just wah day them and some in shoot-out. One a them get shot and lay down inna bush a bawl fi the whole time to God fi nuh mek him dead and a him a bad man a kill off people," another resident said, naming several of the alleged gang members in the process.


"More time you cannot get taxi fi come up because them ’fraid. It worse if a night yu a come in," the resident added.


Another resident, who spoke in a hushed tone, told the
Observer that the alleged leader of one of the gangs has ordered the killing of two men if they do not pay over $500,000 for guns stolen. The community member could not say how many guns were stolen.


"Ask the police bout them man yah… see if them nuh know them. All inna broad daylight at bus park them a kill man. Something big is going to happen, I not asking," the resident said, naming more alleged gangsters.


When asked why information has not been given to the police, the resident said: "Yuh can’t even go to them because you don’t know who is who and who working for who. Them kill a bredda weh deh a foreign relative, and him seh a $2 million to anybody weh kill back the man dem weh do it. So you see, things naah done. Something must happen one of these days."


Superintendent in charge of operations for the parish, David White, told the
Observer in a recent interview that there are two main gangs operating in Farm and Effortville.


"When we started out last year, yes, there were some issues with gangs. Gangs on a whole throughout Jamaica would have created some issues, increasing fear among many. The police at Clarendon would have been doing things a little bit differently as to how we treated our gangs," White explained.


He said while these gangs still exist, the police have been able to make "some inroads" in treating with the two operating in the areas of concern.


White said a significant number of these gang members are in police custody, most of whom have been charged for various crimes, including murder, shooting and illegal possession of firearm.


"We are still intensifying our operations in those areas. Those areas have seen quite a lot of activities by the members of the security forces over the past couple of months, and coming down into May and into June it will be intensified some more. So the free movement of some of the criminals within those places would have been limited based on what we have been doing over the past couple of months.


"So the residents don’t have to be afraid of these gangs. As I said before, there is no doubt that quite a few are operating in those areas, but we would have made quite a number of inroads in treating with that," the superintendent shared.


Added to that, the lawman said most of the players in these gangs, especially in the areas about which concerns were raised, are people who are living abroad and who have been financing the gang activities in the parish.


"We are on top of those, though," he said. "We collaborate with law enforcement officers there and other agencies within our spaces, so the effort is there. There are a couple of them who are on our wanted list who we are targeting and we know we’ll take them in. It is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week target for these wanted persons."


 

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