Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
Amid reports of a flare-up in murders and other violent activities in Montego Bay, St James, over the past week, an anti-crime strategy has been launched with the aim of restricting the movement of criminals in the Area One Police Division, both for the Christmas period and beyond.
"At 0300 hours (3 a.m.) this morning, we refocused Operation Resilience 2 in the west …," Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke, commanding officer of the division, told The Gleaner yesterday.
"We made an assessment of the occurrences of the past week that have been violent, to say the least; the changes in the modalities of criminal gang members in particular, and certain changes in the environment."
He added: "As we approach Christmas, there is more money in circulation, and this increases the risk of the crime of robbery in particular. Out of this assessment, we have decided to refocus Operation Resilience 2."
Clarke said that, over the past 10 weeks, since October 9, the police have engaged in operations in select divisions, depending on the intelligence that has been available.
"... We really appreciate the steady flow of intelligence, particularly from the residents, visitors and citizens of Jamaica in general," he said.
Clarke said since the crime strategy's launch yesterday morning, there had been some success with the seizure of two illegal firearms and several rounds of ammunition in Westmoreland.
"Two 911 pistols and 17 rounds of ammunition were recovered in Cornwall Mountain, in the hills of Westmoreland," he revealed. "These are some areas where the gangs would reside, but we see that they take the high ground and then descend on the citizens when there's an opportunity."
criminals on move
Clarke noted that the police have seen where criminals have moved from the areas that have been under the firm control of the security forces, to areas where law enforcement is not as well deployed. As a result, the aim of the police will now be to deny "criminal elements the freedom they have come to enjoy in those areas".
Said Clarke: "While we're doing that, we're going to tighten up that kind of security even in the traditional areas."
He noted that Operation Resilience 2 carries the same objectives contained in a five-point anti-crime plan he had announced on May 7, shortly after his appointment to the division.
"The priorities remain the same, and they remain the principal strategy being implemented. Operation Resilience has to do with particular tactics as we seek to achieve objectives in support of the overall strategy," he said.
The Area One division, comprised of St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny, has come into sharp focus over the past week as a result of gun-slayings of 12 persons in Montego Bay and surrounding communities.
Approximately 151 persons have been murdered in St James since the start of the year, with 26 of those deaths being recorded for the month of October.