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Flow teams up with Crime stop, hoping to put an end to theft of its copper, other infrastructure

Published:Monday | February 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
In this file photo, then head of security for LIME, Christopher Bryan (right), examines a section of more than 200m of cable wire that was cut from the Johnson Hill main road, Hellshire, Portmore, on Tuesday, December 23, 2014. Looking on is Sgt Simon McCormack from the Hellshire Police Station.
This Nissan Tiida motor car with the burnt cable was stopped by the police, also in Portmore, St Catherine.

Excessive infrastructure theft, particularly of copper, costing anywhere in the region of $300 million, has forced major telecommunications player, Flow, into signing an agreement with Crime Stop, which should see the company saving big bucks from lower instances of vandalism and theft.

Flow has suffered immensely over the years as result of vandals taking charge of its cell sites, wreaking havoc.

Ronnie Thompson, the company's senior customer experience director, revealed on Monday at the signing of the agreement, which took place at its Carlton Crescent corporate office, that damaging impacts are not only felt by Flow, but also by the national economy.

Both Thompson and Crime Stop chairman, Major General Robert Neish, signed off on the agreement.

"Over the last three years, we have been suffering consistently from copper theft. I say infrastructure theft, because it's (actually) more than just the copper along the roadway that they steal. The cell site was removed, everything, [costing us] millions of dollars! More so, the impact on our customers is very significant. The national economy suffers, police stations [go] out of service, hospitals [go] out of service, and the fire services go out of service. All these are impacted by copper theft," highlighted Thompson.

So far, 16 persons have been dragged before the court, accused of crimes relating to the vandalism or theft of Flow property.

Thompson described those unlawful acts as a national security issue and thanked the police for their continued support.

The agreement will make possible the award of up to $1 million to any person who gives valuable information to Crime Stop, that leads to arrests. Flow has committed to providing the funds, while Crime Stop will provide the necessary platform for persons to come forward with what they know, without fear.

"I must say that I am very pleased to be announcing our partnership with Crime Stop. We commend the Government. The Jamaica Constabulary Force, we cannot stop referring to them because they have helped us tremendously, and islandwide, we have been getting support. We have 16 cases in court, four cleared up, and we have 12 ongoing. It's a bit tedious at times," Thompson stressed.