Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, says the police have made over 60 arrests and seized the assets of criminal organisations, as the authority intensifies its drive to dismantle these entities.
“We have made well over 60 significant arrests in the last couple of weeks. We have seized hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate, high end motor vehicles and cash and we are determined to continue going after these criminal organisations until we can take the profit out of crime and force them to go and seek other forms of engagement,” he stressed.
The Commissioner was speaking at a press conference at his Old Hope Road offices in Kingston, on April 2.
Mr. Ellington pointed out that there was a surge in criminal gang activities in the early part of the year, but the police launched certain major co-ordinated operations against the key gangs, mainly those involved in the lottery scams.
He said there are three types of gangs that are responsible for abnormal levels of criminal activities in any part of Jamaica. One is the very small loosely structured petty criminal gangs, referred to as first generation gangs that form overnight and can be dismantled in one police operation.
“The (ones) to look at really, are the second and third generation gangs. These are the gangsters who are actually businessmen, criminal business people. They are involved in enterprise crime, such as drug trafficking, gun smuggling, extortion/protection rackets, large scale fraud, robberies, kidnappings for ransom and contract killings,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that a significant percentage of those second and third generation gangs, which numbered from 30 to 60 last year, were seriously impacted by the police’s counter-gang strategy.
“In many cases, it’s the second and third generation gangs that co-opt the first generation gangs into criminal activities. So, when you significantly impact the enterprise type gangs, you are also disrupting the activities of the lower level street gangs,” he said.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter