St Mary police seeing gains in fight against farm theft
Police in St Mary have been treating praedial larceny as the serious crime it is, and, in return, are earning the trust of farmers and fisherfolk, according to Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, the top cop in the parish.
"When I see farmers catch a person stealing their goats and their pigs and they call the police, a new day has dawned," Lindsay told a Gleaner Growth Forum at Beaches Resort in the parish.
"In the past, that was not the case," she continued. "They chopped them up and then called the police. But I believe the more that we demonstrate to them ... because praedial larceny investigation was not really a priority in the past. That was way down the line (but) now we have brought it to the forefront and it is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Branch.
"So the same unit that is investigating the murder and the rape and the robbery, that is the unit now that investigates praedial larceny. When you have a theft, you have the crime-scene detectives actually there protecting evidence, which is a vast improvement. So people will report things to the police and the confidence will build when they make their reports and they see action," Lindsay noted.
The senior cop was quick to point out that there is no risk of complacency on the police's part.
At each station in the parish, there is now an officer trained as a praedial larceny liaison whose duties include visiting farmers and helping them to understand the importance of related issues such as registering with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.