Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Hope Pastures, Mona Heights still safe for university students - Commish

Published:Tuesday | November 10, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Amid growing fears among university students residing in the Hope Pastures area, where a University of Technology (UTech) student was killed last week, Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams is seeking to assure residents of the area's safety.

The commissioner noted that the police had increased their presence in the area about two years ago and have been effective in reducing attacks against students ever since.

"About two years ago, when we had an outbreak of violence and property crimes there, we implemented some patrols and it kept the area quiet for a long time until we had this situation last week," Williams told The Gleaner yesterday.

"We have intensified our efforts in Mona Heights and Hope Pastures, those areas that are frequented by young students from UTech and The University of the West Indies."

Last week, Darrian McGhann, president of the UTech Students' Union, said he would be writing to the commissioner of police requesting more police presence in the Mona and Hope Pastures areas of St Andrew after Shanique Walters, a 22-year-old UTech student, was killed in Hope Pastures.

Walters, who pursued studies at UTech's College of Health Sciences, was reportedly shot in the head along Hope Boulevard after refusing to hand over her bag to gunmen.

Walters' friend, who handed over her bag, was unharmed.

Williams said the police were currently working with the citizens' associations in the Papine area to further enhance the safety of the students in the area.

He noted that the police have also increased their presence in communities in Liguanea and Vineyard Town.

"We want to ensure that people, especially those who have to walk along the roadways, are safe. We are not going to be able to cover every single street, but we are going to do our best to ensure that every single street gets some attention."

sherine.williams@gleanerjm.com