The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has increased safety and security measures in anticipation of heightened commercial activities during the Christmas season.
Speaking at a virtual press conference today (December 2), Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said the special anti-robbery initiatives that are under way will focus on shopping and other commercial areas, including markets.
He noted, too, that overt and covert teams across police divisions will be targeting motorcyclists as well as other persons seeking to carry out robberies.
“As we approach the Christmas season, we know there are mounting concerns about robberies and theft. A number of these cases have been committed in public spaces by persons on motorcycles and to a lesser extent motorcars, but also the persons on foot,” he said.
He noted that the heightened measures, which are being rolled out much earlier than previous years, also include deployment of additional personnel to high-violence areas.
“We actually started last weekend. We have scaled back operations in non-operational activities to provide additional resources, including manpower to high-violence areas and centres of commerce. This emphasis will continue through to January 2021 and, of course, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), who are our key partners, have called out their Reserves and also have been deploying additional assets,” he shared.
Additionally, the Police Commissioner is urging business operators to engage the services of private security companies to transfer large sums of cash.
“Despite a 17.7 per cent reduction in robberies, we continue to see cases where businesses that deal with large cash transactions are targeted, and while we increase our anti-robbery efforts, we encourage persons who are moving large sums of cash to utilise the cash escort services offered by private security companies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Anderson further encouraged citizens to exercise caution and awareness during the period.
“We also encourage citizens to be aware of their personal safety and surroundings as you go about your shopping and normal activities. Sometimes we get buried in our phones and do not pay attention to what is around us,” he said.
He also urged persons who suspect that they are being followed while driving, to go to the nearest police station and report the incident.
Commissioner Anderson said there will be greater traffic management in anticipation of road congestion. He added that aspects of the Road Traffic Act will be enforced vigorously over this period and urged Jamaicans to exercise patience on the roads.
“This is the worst period, I think, that you would have your vehicle impounded or removed, so I really recommend that people take heed of this, exercise a little patience; everyone wants to get to where they are going,” he said.