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Portmore community considers CCTV as serial rapist haunts municipality

Published:Friday | June 21, 2019 | 12:19 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

With reports of at least a dozen cases of rape in a number of Portmore communities recently, one citizens’ association president says plans are afoot to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems throughout their neighbourhood.

Byron Cunningham, president of the Cedar Grove Estate Citizens’ Association, made the disclosure as he spoke to The Gleaner yesterday ahead of a forum, which forms part of the association’s week of activities.

Cunningham said the community has been monitoring the reports of a serial rapist in the municipality and steps were being taken to sensitise the citizens about what is happening and how they could protect themselves. Those plans, he said, include strengthening their security patrol team, which comprises actual residents.

“It’s hard to stop [crime, including rape], but we have to put measures in place,” he said.

Checks by The Gleaner yesterday revealed that the Portmore Citizens’ Advisory Council, a legal body that comprises representatives of civil society speaking on issues affecting the municipality, was not active. A former member told our news team that steps were being taken to have the council and other such bodies up and running again.

Senior Superintendent Clive Blair, commander of the St Catherine South Police Division, said that a manhunt is on for the alleged serial rapist, who reportedly committed his latest attack on Wednesday.

Bridgeport, Cumberland, Braeton, Silver Stone, and Portmore Pines are some of the communities from which the police say they have received reports of incidents of rape.

“As recent as this morning (Wednesday), we had a case of rape in the Portmore area, and his victims are between the ages of 19 and 60 years old,” Blair told our news team.

The suspect is said to be of medium build and dark in complexion and usually strikes between midnight and 4 a.m.

Further reports suggest that he does not use a condom, furthering chances of victims contracting sexual infections.

Angela Ingram, counsellor at Woman Inc – a crisis Centre for Women which addresses issues including rape, incest, domestic violence, domestic crises, and sexual harassment – told The Gleaner that none of the Portmore victims had reached out to the centre for counselling.

“Rape, in general, those cases are the ones that are usually under-reported,” she said. “Some will get the police involved, and others will say just leave it alone or they want to get past it on their own.”