A Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) has been declared for the community of August Town, St. Andrew.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement at a virtual press conference from Jamaica House on Wednesday (July 8).
“The community of August Town has been assessed as a significant contributor to the level of crime in the St. Andrew Central Police Division and for some time now has been designated a hotspot within this police area,” Mr. Holness said.
“Based on assessment, there is an urgent need for intervention,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said that the presence of major gangs in the community, as well as a number of other less-organised gangs, has over the years contributed to the level of crime.
He noted that the criminal activities of these gangs are not restricted to the geographical boundaries of the community, but have negatively affected other areas.
The Prime Minister said that the declaration of the ZOSO will allow for targeted measures to restore public order and ensure sustainable peace and enduring transformation of the community.
Chief of Defence Staff, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, in outlining the boundaries of the ZOSO, said that the area of operation starts at Goldsmith Villa Road and Princess Alice Way to the Goldsmith Villa Seventh-day Adventist Church and then south-easterly for approximately 190 metres.
It then continues in a northerly direction running along the eastern boundary of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Wastewater Treatment Plant to its intersection with Mona Road and Hermitage Road.
To the north, continuing from the intersection of Mona Road and Hermitage Road, the boundary runs in an easterly direction along Hermitage Road to its intersection with University Road and then continues in an easterly direction to its intersection with the Hope River.
To the east, continuing from the point along the Hope River, the boundary extends in a south-easterly direction along the Hope River to its intersection with River Bottom Road in the vicinity of Bedward Gardens.
It then continues in a south-westerly direction for approximately 180 metres, then south-easterly on to June Road to its intersection with July Road and then in a south-easterly direction along July Road to its intersection with Bedward Crescent and around the Crescent to the intersection with August Town Road.
Finally to the south, from the intersection of Bedward Crescent and August Town Road, the boundary extends south-westerly along August Town Road for approximately 280 metres and then westerly for approximately 1.7 kilometres along the foot of the Long Mountain range to the start point at the intersection of Goldsmith Villa Road and Princess Alice Way.
August Town is the island’s fourth ZOSO. The others are in Denham Town in West Kingston; Mount Salem, St James; and Greenwich Town, St. Andrew, which was declared seven days ago.
Under The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, an area can be declared a ZOSO once there is rampant criminality, gang warfare, escalating violence and murder, and a threat to the rule of law.
The law allows for measures to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social intervention initiatives in communities where a zone operates.
An area can be declared a ZOSO by the Prime Minister after being advised in writing by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commissioner of Police.