Police: Be vigilant as Christmas approaches
Traffic congestion in the town of Mandeville (Photos: Gregory Bennett)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The police here have advised people to be more vigilant when conducting business and adopt increased security measures as the Christmas season approaches.

Superintendent Lloyd Darby, who heads the Manchester police, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that even with increased police presence on the streets it is still not enough to address security concerns.

“Coming up [to] the Christmas season it is always a time for an increase in property crimes, so persons come out to do their shopping in larger numbers than normal and the criminal elements take advantage of that situation,” he said.

“We don't have the (police) numbers that we would like to have to give the proper presence on the street,” he explained.

He is urging the public to be on the lookout for pickpockets and robbers.

“We are imploring the citizens by protecting themselves, so as much as possible people are to use cards at point of sales machines in supermarkets, clothes stores, jewellery stores, anywhere they are going to be doing shopping, don't walk with large sums of cash,” he said.

He acknowledged that there might be a challenge for some elderly people to use card machines. “…We encourage them to come out with people they can trust,” he said.

He is imploring vehicle owners to invest in anti-theft measures, including tracking devices, and for commuters who rely on taxis to be more vigilant.

“We also have a concern about the theft of vehicles, so we want people when they drive their cars especially cars like Toyota Axios and Probox [to be careful]. We also see some incidents of Subaru Imprezas being stolen too, so we just encourage people to put some anti-theft devices in their vehicles,” he said.

“Don't be naïve in the space to think that nothing is happening and nothing can happen, be aware. People who are taking public passenger vehicles make sure that the vehicles are registered. It is better if you know the operators over a time,” he added.

He said commuters should share photos of the licence plate of the vehicle they are travelling in if they become suspicious.

With Manchester down the years being plagued by break-ins, Darby also warning home and business owners to ensure that they properly secure their property.

“…Check your locks, see if there is a little grill that you need to put up at the bathroom window. We see a lot of people grill everywhere and leave a bathroom window [not grilled] and that is where the culprits [enter],” he said.

According to Darby, cellphones, laptops and televisions sets are the most commonly stolen items.

“Secure your cellphone when walking. People walking up and down with their expensive $200,000 and odd cellphone. Try not to walk and be on your phone texting or making calls. You have to make a call, go into a secure place, put back your phone in your pocket or wherever. Cellphones are stolen a lot,” he said.

He identified Hargreaves Avenue and North Race Course Road as areas where people have been held up by either gunpoint or with knives and their phones and money stolen.

The Manchester police chief is encouraging people to know their international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number for their cellphones and activate tracking, as it has enabled the police to make breakthroughs in robberies.

“We have had some successes in apprehending the persons who steal phones with tracking devices, so we encourage people to put that on it,” he said.

He is encouraging people to discreetly label their belongings with marks that may include their name initials and the letter L for Manchester.

“Mark your property, write down the serial number [for] your electronic devices and you can put your own mark in places where nobody would know to look, but you, whether it be your TV or your washing machine, fridge, stove or motor vehicle, put your own mark,” he said.

He has encouraged individuals who have confidentiality issues to contact him at 876-238-7747 to report sightings of “suspicious people, people with guns, lotto scammers anywhere in the parish of Manchester and it will be dealt with”.

DARBY... the Christmas season is always a time for an increase in property crimes
BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

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