SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Not even a police-military checkpoint erected behind it was enough to keep thieves from breaking into a supermarket on Great George Street in Savanna-la-Mar and now other proprietors are wondering if their businesses will be targeted next.
"We are afraid, that's really bad," one businessman who owns a similar establishment told the Jamaica Observer. The man, who asked not to be named, said thieves struck at his supermarket last year.
Monday's break-in within the community, which has been declared a zone of special operations (ZOSO) has left the businessman and others rattled because of the methodical approach taken by the thieves.
According to the police, the owner of Better Life Supermarket and Wholesale, Gaoqing Deng, received a phone call that the building had been broken into.
He called the police who arrived to find that the culprits had disabled the power supply which meant the CCTV cameras and alarm system could not work. They then cut the locks from the shutter securing the main entrance.
Items stolen included two cartons of cigarette valued at $936,000, along with 3,000 assorted phone cards valued at $420,000 and $600,000 in cash.
The owner of a nearby supermarket complained that the ZOSO was ineffective as the soldiers stationed there had become complacent.
"Dem nah duh nutten. I'm wondering [which supermarket] next," she pondered.
In January of this year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared southern Savanna-la-Mar a ZOSO, to provide enhanced security for the communities of Russia, Dalling Street and Dexter Street.
At that time, Holness said the ZOSO would "displace the criminals and disrupt their pattern of terror".
But the businesswoman has suggested another approach.
"The only thing the Government can do to help crime in the country a put more free Wi-Fi and the cameras can install. Otherwise they won't get anything from Jamaicans. If you give them cameras and can survey the community they can fight crime," she said.
— Kimberley Peddie