Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Security at Harbour View plaza gets boost to cramp robberies

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:14 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Security personnel on guard as an armoured vehicle patrols the Harbour View plaza in Kingston where security measures have been increased to combat robbery attempts at the location.
Security personnel on guard as an armoured vehicle patrols the Harbour View plaza in Kingston where security measures have been increased to combat robbery attempts at the location.

A ONCE sleepy residential area of mainly senior citizens, whose children of the 1970s left their nests at the start of the millennium, Harbour View’s rapid transition to a university community has come with its economic spinoffs, but with criminals lurking, especially in its sprawling plaza.

Harbour View made the crime blotters last December with an increase in robberies, which the police reported as “thieves preying on residents at nights, robbing them of cash and other valuables”, prompting the lawmen to implement covert operations.

However, last month’s brazen attempted daylight robbery of a wholesale spurred Harbour View plaza’s privately contracted security firm, McKay Security, to take an entirely opposite but equally effective stance on confronting criminals. In a show of force, the company has rolled out a fully equipped armoured vehicle, patrolling 24 hours per day.

It was business as usual when The Gleaner made an impromptu visit to the plaza, observing the armoured truck in the vicinity of the busy supermarket and at least three armed guards watching as a delivery was being made at the wholesale which was targeted in August.

marked reduction

The wholesale’s proprietor related that three gunmen had attempted to rob the establishment in August. However, since the ramping up of security and the presence of the armoured truck, there has been a marked reduction of suspicious-looking individuals.

“I am seeing the truck and the security people pretty often. What has happened since the truck is that I don’t see a lot of hangers-on in the plaza anymore,” the proprietor noted.

A massive plaza with two 24-hour gas stations and a new fast-food outlet attracting an endless stream of foot and vehicular traffic, the Harbour View plaza has shops ranging from fishing tackle outlets to beauty salons, as well as automated teller machines at different locations.

“Unlike other plazas that shut down at nights, the Harbour View plaza, because of its location, makes it the eastern entry and exit point of Kingston. It’s the first and last major structure en route to, or from, Kingston’s international airport, so it makes sense to have this level of security, not only for locals but also visitors as well,” said the proprietor.

In recent times, robbers have plagued various towns in rural areas, at times making off with cash and other items.

ainsley.walters@gleanerjm.com