Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Commish, residents dispute gang count in Norwood

Published:Wednesday | June 23, 2021 | 12:12 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson (third left) surrounded by members of the security forces during his tour of Norwood on Tuesday.
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson (third left) surrounded by members of the security forces during his tour of Norwood on Tuesday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Residents of the newly declared zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Norwood have disputed the assertion of Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson that six gangs operate in the violence-plagued northwestern Jamaica community.

“This is where I have lived all my life and I know about two gangs, Huger Lane Gang and Church Lane Gang, so I was surprised when I heard the commissioner talking about six gangs,” said one of several residents who contradicted the disclosure on Sunday.

“It is important that the police know how many gangs are here so they know who to target ... . You can’t start off with misinformation.”

That harks back to claims of faulty data grounding the declaration of a ZOSO in Mt Salem in September 2017.

During Anderson’s tour of Norwood on Monday, he brushed aside requests to name the gangs.

“I am not going to be naming them so that they get some sort of infamy or fame from me,” said Anderson.

“We know who the gangs are, and their names, but I am not going to particularly advertise any of them here ... . They are the problem in the community and they need to be in jail or change their ways.”

With the ZOSO into its third day, the commissioner heaped praise on the security forces, who seized two guns and 18 rounds of ammunition on Monday.

He compared the achievements with those in Mt Salem, which took 14 days to turn up the first illegal firearm.

Mt Salem is one of two ZOSOs operational in St James and five in the island.

The commissioner said that seven persons in Norwood have been arrested since Sunday in relation to crimes including firearm and sexual offences, as well as lottery scamming.

Social intervention is a key deliverable of ZOSOs, with Mt Salem emerging as the standard-bearer with the replacement of zinc fences with concrete walls, as well as the issuance of birth certificates, taxpayer registration numbers, and passports to underserved residents. A community centre has been refurbished and a new police station constructed.

The commissioner said he could not pronounce on the scope of social benefits that would be rolled out in Norwood.

“It’s too early to say,” said Anderson.

“We really followed a clear, hold, build strategy around zones of special operations, so in the early stages we do a number of operations against the gangs, gang members, and other criminals.”

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