Councillor urges vigilance against crime as Covid-19 takes hold

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Councillor urges vigilance against crime as Covid-19 takes hold

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Councillor for the Balaclava Division and former mayor of Black River Everton Fisher (People's National Party) is urging Jamaicans to be “extra vigilant” and to prepare themselves for a surge in crime as the COVID-19 crisis cripples economic activity, leaving many without jobs.

“The situation is sort of nerve-racking but what it requires is for all of us to be extra vigilant and to be always on the lookout,” Fisher told the Jamaica Observer by telephone.

He was speaking against the backdrop of two incidents in the normally sleepy Balaclava area of northern St Elizabeth yesterday.

In the first incident, in early morning, an alleged farm thief was shot dead in Oxford on the outskirts of Balaclava by a farmer who found men stealing his peppers.

In the second incident, gunmen robbed a post office in Balaclava of cash said to amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Balaclava incidents followed one in Lacovia, west of Santa Cruz, on Monday, in which gunmen held up a gas station and subsequently engaged police in a gunfight. The police car was damaged but police personnel were unhurt, reports say.

Fisher noted that over a period of 'months', robbers have targeted cash remittance outlets in Santa Cruz and Balaclava, and there have been a number of break-ins at shops and homes.

He credited the St Elizabeth police and divisional commander Superintendent Samuel Morgan for “doing a good job utilising patrols, and so forth”; however, he felt effectiveness was being adversely affected by inadequate mobility in Balaclava.

“There is just one police car for the Balaclava area, which is a very large, mountainous area extending from the borders of Manchester and Trelawny [westwards] almost to Braes River and Siloah,” Fisher said.

— Garfield Myers


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