Rate of killings in capital city's south-eastern belt frightening — ChangMonday, February 08, 2021
BY ARTHUR HALL
MINISTER of National Security Dr Horace Chang has identified the south-eastern belt of the Corporate Area as the real problem crescent for the security forces at this time.
“If you take the border from Bull Bay and come across all of Kingston and sections of St Andrew to Maverley, it's almost anarchy down there at this point in time,” Chang told Jamaica Observer editors and reporters last Wednesday.
“The rate of killings in that belt right now is frightening, and the way the gangs operate also demands that we have the soldiers in there,” added Chang.
He pointed to four police divisions, which have recorded almost 60 murders and numerous shootings so far this year, as the real problem areas.
“We are dealing principally with four police divisions — Kingston Eastern, Kingston Central, Kingston West, and St Andrew South, and a little piece of St Andrew Central, the southern side.
“The immediate response is to put more [security] assets in the particular areas. We will call on the army to boost the resources, but that is the central challenge we have — because after you move them from another area you find people slip into these areas and cause problems. But, we have to do it,” added Chang.
Since the start of this year the Kingston Eastern Police Division has recorded 12 murders mainly fuelled by a war among gangsters who were former friends in Bull Bay.
In Kingston Central, splintered gangs and warring factions in Franklyn Town have been at odds, leaving 14 people dead since the start of the year; while 17 people have been killed in the Kingston Western Police Division which covers sections of west Kingston and South St Andrew.
“You know that there is a particular problem in west Kingston with the Scream Corner Gang and the Young Generation Gang, so we are going to put some focus on the gangs and the leadership of the gangs; we will be doing some more targeted operations. You have to just put your assets and go after them,” said Chang as he pointed to what is happening in west Kingston.
“And then there is the Top Jungle versus Bottom Jungle, with the remnants of the Fatherless and Socks gangs who are at odds,” added Chang as he indicated what has been happening in Arnett Gardens which is also in the Kingston Western Police Division.
According to the security minister, the gangsters are forming alliances as they go after their enemies, and unlike in the past, these alliances are not based on political lines.
“Because the politics is no longer there….The gangsters do not depend on PNP [People's National Party] or JLP [Jamaica Labour Party] areas. All of them are forming alliances across the land,” declared Chang.
He said the security forces will look at deploying specialised units into the warring communities immediately.
“So that will be done effectively in the next few days. But you cannot move assets from say, South St Andrew because that division has an ongoing rollover conflict which requires significant assets,” Chang said in reference to an area which has seen a more than 100 per cent increase in murders this year when compared to the same period last year.
“When we go into these communities we see youngsters with 9 millimetre pistols who just watch the police, [and when] the police and the soldiers go right they go left and shoot some people — just shooting wild.
“If it were older gangsters who were seasoned criminals we would have mayhem and more people would be killed. But these are youngsters who fire into a crowd so we end up with five people shot in the leg, and that is what they are doing in east Kingston, central Kingston, west Kingston. And as you put the police in one area, they move to another area,” noted Chang.
Up to Friday the police had recorded 146 murders, 10 more than the same period last year.