Stronger values needed for 2019, say police
Commanders in three of the island's most notorious police divisions say their 2019 crime-fighting strategies will require greater social intervention by the State and a stronger adherence to values by communities crippled by gang violence.
"It is not a good thing when you see media and police and soldiers have to be in your community every day. Yes, the police are here to protect and serve you, but you have to help protect yourselves," pleaded Deputy Superintendent Lilieth Campbell of the May Pen Police Station in Clarendon.
"We are asking you to speak to the youths and just bring back the community to where it was, which is peace and love for 2019. I would love to see at least five years of peace."
Campbell's plea followed a shooting at a shop on Pernal Bailey Avenue that left two men dead and four others injured. Yesterday, police said two of the victims remained in critical condition at hospital.
At least one person has been taken into custody for that incident.
Superintendent Victor Hamilton, head of the Kingston East police division, noted however, that locking up violence producers and confiscating their illegal weapons is only part of the fight.
'Peace has to come from community'
Warring factions from sections of Mountain View and Rockfort had been at each other's throats for much of last year with a string of shootings and murders.
"The communities are simply battle-weary. They are simply tired of their communities being overrun by violence and criminal elements, and for the most part, the perpetrators are home-grown," said Hamilton.
"People will have to dig deep; their resolve will have to be great to turn back the scourge of violence ... . The police can swarm an area after something happens and then there is calm and peace, but real peace has to come from the community," he said, adding that the proliferation of guns is a major problem locally.
Residents of Oliver Road, where gunmen from Mountain View last year unloaded high-powered rifles before breaking into homes and stealing furniture, welcomed the peace last week, noting, however, that that peace would only last if unattached youths find jobs.