Praedial Larceny Trending down in Manchester
Most farmers in Manchester are breathing a sigh of relief as less of their produce is being pillaged by thieves.
The problem of praedial larceny has existed for decades, but according to Inspector Gaston Cameron at the Mandeville Police Station, each year has shown a gradual decrease.
"This year, we have seen a 10 per cent decrease in the number of reports we have received compared to last year (this time)."
Affirming this are farmers who have been victims of praedial larceny in the past.
"I have been a farmer for about 11 years, planting cabbage, sweet pepper, carrot, Irish potatoes, and I used to have my produce stolen very regularly - all twice fi di day. When dem (thieves) come, man, me a lose all $30,000 worth a goods, so me did haffi tek drastic measures and get di police on the case. Since then me nuh have dem problem deh, few years well now," explained Noel Williams.
Sharing a similar experience, Mary Pitter, who has been a farmer for more than 40 years, told The Gleaner that she has lost thousands of dollars as a result of this malady, but has been recuperating over the past few years.
"Me lose nuff, man. One time dem used to tief everything - mi potatoes, mi yam, mi pumpkin - everyting."
When asked how often she reported matters to the police, Pitter said rarely, as the cops were not as efficient as they ought to have been.
"Dem a dead stock. Me call dem already and nutn nuh come out of it. After a while, di ole tief dem just stop come."
Some farmers, like Robert Fisher, have never had an experience with praedial larceny, even though his community, he said, is plagued by the larcenists.
However, Hopie Morris has been so badly affected, she has resorted to mainly buying and selling.
"I farm mainly cash crops and I used to raise animals, but after one time when dem tek weh one truckload a mi animals, I just stopped. I lost thousands of dollars. My husband, who has a few goats, may soon lose dem, too, because tief a tief, and dem nuh partial. Me nuh badda wid dat aspect again; me do mainly buying and selling."
Admitting that this problem has persisted in the parish, Cameron advised that the police have been intensifying their efforts to put a stop to it.
"We visit the farm areas regularly and have talks with the farmers. We have regular patrols and spot checks, and there is a zero-tolerance approach to people who carry farm produce without receipt or proper documentation," he said.