Police chief assigns special team to target robbers over holidaysThursday, December 03, 2020
BY KIMONE FRANCIS
DESPITE a 17 per reduction in robberies, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson says this major crime remains worrisome for lawmen, and he has commissioned a special task force to counter criminals throughout the Christmas season.
Anderson, who was speaking yesterday at the first of what is expected to be a series of virtual briefings for the holiday period, said the force is aware of the mounting concerns relating to robberies, especially with the level of hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
There has been an increase in the number of robbery reports shared on social media, with citizens urging caution when engaging in daily routines.
“A number of these cases have been committed in public spaces by persons on motorcycles and to a lesser extent motor cars but also [by] persons on foot. That has been a traditional part of large crowds as people try to conduct accusatory crimes,” Anderson told journalists.
“In response to these threats, we have special anti-robbery initiatives focusing on shopping and other commercial areas, including markets, and these are underway. Additionally, overt and covert teams across the divisions will be targeting these motorcyclists as well as other persons seeking to carry out robberies,” he added.
Statistics from the Jamaica Constabulary Force's website indicate that 194 fewer robberies have been recorded up to November 28 this year, when compared to a similar period last year.
Up to that period there have been 925 reported cases of robberies, when compared to the 1,119 reported cases last year, representing a decline of 17.3 per cent.
“Now despite a  per cent reduction in robberies, we continue to see cases where businesses that deal with large cash transactions are targeted. While we increase our anti-robbery efforts, we encourage persons who are moving large sums of cash to utilise the cash escort services offered by private security companies.
“We also encourage citizens to be aware of their personal safety and your surroundings as you go about your shopping and normal activities. Sometimes, we get buried in our phone and [do] not pay attention to what is around us. If you feel you are being followed or if you are driving and you feel that people are following you, if you can just drive to a police station and report it to us and we will assist you,” said Anderson.
Additionally, he said with an increase in police presence on the roads, individuals are being encouraged to exercise patience and courtesy as thoroughfares become congested as is customary during the Christmas period.
“Everyone wants to get where they're going and at this time we would prefer to do more traffic management over the season to allow everybody to move smoothly to where they're going as opposed to traffic enforcement,” said Anderson.
At the same time, he warned that there will be no leniency for road code breakers over the period.
“For those selfish motorists and those who believe that the Road Traffic Act doesn't apply to them we'll be enforcing vigorously over this period. This is the worst period I think that you would have your vehicle impounded or removed. So, I really recommend that people take heed of this [and] exercise a little patience. Everybody wants to get to where they're going and so it's really important that people take note of this,” the commissioner said.
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