Police alert persons about robbery prevention tips

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The police are alerting citizens to an emerging trend where robbers target individuals making large cash transactions at commercial banks in town centres.

In a press release from the constabulary’s Corporate Communications Unit, the police said investigators have so far picked up on incidents in Portmore, Half Way Tree, Liguanea, May Pen and Duke Street in downtown Kingston.

The police said information gathered so far suggests that the robbers work in groups, employing at least two individuals—one as a spotter to identify potential victims and another who commits the actual act of robbery.

It noted that a motorcycle is the preferred mode of transport, though there have been incidents where motor cars were used. There are also reports of perpetrators fleeing the scene on foot.

The police said that while some arrests have been made, investigators believe the syndicate continues to operate and are warning the public to be extremely vigilant.

The following are some steps that can be employed to reduce vulnerability:

Opt for non-cash options. The rise of online banking has provided many opportunities for direct bank-to-bank transfers. Where the limits on these avenues may not meet the cash needs, explore other options such as cheques or wire transfers.

Pay attention to your surroundings and trust your gut. While criminals work very hard to blend in and appear normal, most victims report having a gut feeling before the incident. Trust that feeling and do not dismiss it. In public spaces, seek out a police officer or security guard or raise the alarm.

When attending banks, avoid wearing expensive jewellery and carrying costly gadgets. These items increase the likelihood of you being targeted by robbers.

Be careful who you trust. In some cases, it has been borne out that robbers were alerted to persons by others with whom they shared information. This includes bank employees and even relatives and friends.

Do not resist. Generally, robbers prefer not to engage the target. This changes, however, when there is resistance. Resistance increases the likelihood of serious injury or death and persons are advised to comply and prioritise life over possessions.

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