BROWN'S TOWN, St Ann — The police in this parish will be keeping an eye out for certain models of cars as they step up efforts to curb crime and dampen the increasing number of fatalities on the roads.
“We are trying to do traffic enforcement and focus on the vehicles that are traditionally used in gun robberies and other crimes. So, the Altis Crown, Nissan Tiida and Mark X… This is a part of our murder reduction strategy,” Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis told the Jamaica Observer.
The strategy being pursued, he said, involves setting up a roadblock at the border of Trelawny and St Ann. The aim is to reassure law-abiding citizens who feel threatened by criminals that the police will effectively carry out their duties, and to target vehicles suspected of transporting firearms and ammunition.
There were 55 murders in St Ann in 2021, down from the 70 in 2020. Since the start of this year three people have been murdered in the parish.
Although the police failed to seize any guns when their operation started last Friday, Francis said they apprehended five people suspected of lottery scamming while 18 others were prosecuted for breaches of the Road Traffic Act.
Going forward, he said, the police will be working closely with the Transport Authority.
“Two motor vehicles were also seized during the operation…the drivers were charged with lottery scamming-related activities and offered bail. The five persons arrested were all from the parish of St James,” added Francis.
He said the plan is that the ongoing operation will stem the flow of criminals from outside St Ann while also helping to reduce motor vehicle crashes.
“Last year, we had 36 accidents and 38 fatalities… so [our] presence on the road is also a deterrent for speeding or persons who are not using the road properly,” added Francis.
In 2021, 11 pedestrians, 10 motorists, two pedal cyclists, nine drivers, and six passengers were among those who died from traffic mishaps in the parish.
Eight people died in six accidents on the Llandovery main road alone last year. There has been one collision on that road since the start of this year. Three people died in that mishap.