Cops vow to take back the streets from criminals
Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor
A massive deployment of police and soldiers blanketed the west Kingston community of Denham Town yesterday, as the security forces try to take back the streets from gangsters who have engaged in a bloody feud in the area.
"We are going to secure this community so that the residents can enjoy peace in their homes as they have a right to do," declared Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds yesterday, as he watched the police men and women at work in the heart of Denham Town.
Hinds was addressing members of the media amid reports that some 300 cops and more than 100 members of the Jamaica Defence Force were in the area conducting a cordon-and-search operation.
He said the police would be targeting the criminal gangs which have embarked on a murderous trail across the community.
Police intelligence have identified the criminal groups as the Strikers, Scare Dem and Four Storey gangs. Reports suggest that they have been responsible for several murders in the community.
Early yesterday morning, two suspected members of the Scare Dem gang were killed in alleged shoot-outs with the cops and two guns reportedly taken from them.
The police reported that the men, whose identities were not immediately released, were killed after they engaged members of the security forces in shoot-outs.
Determined to dismantle gangs
In the wake of the fatal shootings, Hinds told journalists that the police were determined to dismantle the gangs.
"We have looked at the challenges across the nation in terms of the activities of gangs and this is one of the areas infested with a number of criminal gangs, so we are responding to the challenges these gangs pose," said Hinds.
"We are doing what we call a scouring of the community, where we are seeking to disarm the gangs ... to make the community safe," added Hinds.
He said the aim is that at the end of the operation, Denham Town should be restored to a being peaceful community and the police are prepared to stay there for the long haul.
The massive operation by the security forces came some two months after the member of parliament for the area, Desmond McKenzie, pointed to the three criminal gangs as the source of the problems and called on the police to tackle them.
"This criminal element that continues to wreak havoc must be dealt with," declared McKenzie.
"I'm saying to the police, whatever they have to do to restore peace to the community, they have to do it. The police have to get rid of these criminals, and is not a whole heap of them."