Robbers plaguing Portmore Pines - Women, children and the elderly targeted
The community of Portmore Pines in St Catherine has been dubbed a 'feeding tree for robbers' by residents of the community, who are living in fear as criminals make their lives hell, robbing them of valuables and their peace of mind.
Just last week, a video from a home security camera went viral and drew the ire of several Jamaicans after it depicted a man jumping into a premises, brandishing what appeared to be a weapon, and relieving a teenage boy of his cellular phone.
The man escaped by jumping over the perimeter fence, before darting across a neighbouring premises, which led on to Municipal Boulevard, more popularly known as 'I-95'.
"That video has really shaken up the residents because that was an invasion of our private space on the bright Sunday morning, and parents are especially afraid," said Andrea Barrett-James, president of the Portmore Pines Citizens' Association.
"There are robberies of phones, and they have been holding up people for a couple of months now. We are always trying to be out there imploring residents to be more aware of their surroundings and look out for each other," added Barrett-James.
She said the man seen in the video fits the description of one believed involved in at least three other robberies.
Our news team was told that the robber was from the nearby community of Newlands, and that men from the area, disgruntled and embarrassed by the video, beat him severely.
"Of course, people know the youth. Man see him pon video a tief and a wonder what him a do. A man say a so him a behave and about Wednesday him a walk like everything good and three man just grab him," said one resident.
"All now him don't know what him a get beaten for. Him never expect it," added the resident.
Police from the Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) at the St Catherine South Police Station could not confirm that the robber had been beaten by residents, but said that he is known to them and they are following several leads in their effort to locate him.
But Kemel Graham, a resident of Portmore Pines, is taking no comfort in the efforts of the police, as he said that robber is only one of many who plague the community.
"From about 11:30 p.m. to practically about 3:30 a.m. you have to know what you doing on the road. If you are coming out in the morning you can't come out before 4 o'clock because you don't know who is out and it is dark," said Graham.
He charged that the criminals prey on the most vulnerable, especially those with visible cellular phones.
"It is all because of how you look to them. So if you are a woman or if you look like a person who won't retaliate, then them will come and take your things. Them know who to rob," said Graham, as he recounted that about two weeks ago he was alerted by screams from a woman who had just been robbed.
Last week, councillor for the area, Claude Hamilton, confirmed that the residents were under pressure.
"I know there is a spate of robberies that we are watching, and sometimes these persons drive cars from outside and come into the area. I'm not going to say the criminals are from Newlands or any surrounding communities.
"The cars that you hear come into Portmore Pines, it is the same cars that you hear come into Silverstone, Monza and other communities in Portmore. Portmore on a whole has become an opportunity for these criminals," said Hamilton.