Tuesday 19 March, 2019

Washington Gardens in St Andrew under siege

Residents of Washington Gardens in St Andrew are living in fear of criminals who plague their community, often robbing unsuspecting persons at gunpoint, both at daytime and at night.

One resident of the community told Loop News that she was robbed twice at gunpoint in an open lot near her home on Caenwood Crescent in the community, including once when she was walking with her child.

Two of the most recent robberies took place in late March, and involved a man who was dramatically robbed of his motorbike and bag containing important documents, and a teenage boy who was robbed of what Jamaicans refer to as a ‘peanut’ (cheap) phone.

In the case of the teenager, Loop News understands that the robbery took place during the day as the youngster walked along Chovey Avenue.

Reports are that men in a grey Nissan Tiida motorcar drove up to the youngster and demanded the phone. The boy ran, but was chased down.

“The man kick weh him foot and him drop,” Ryan Johnson, a resident of Washington Gardens, told Loop News.

“Can you imagine dem kick down the youth for a peanut phone,” exclaimed Johnson.

In the case of the man who was robbed of his motorbike and bag, the incident reportedly took place at night on March 28 while the victim, who is not a resident of Washington Gardens, was visiting the community.

The man recounted that while sitting on his bike, a Toyota Axio motorcar with six men aboard, approached him. The men got out and quickly surrounded him and demanded his property.

The victim quickly complied with their demands as, according to him, all six men were armed with guns.

To combat the problem, residents of Washington Gardens have been forced to fork out big bucks for security companies to install alarms, cameras and other protective devices.

Loop News also understands that on a regular basis, some of the residents also pay for security escorts when they are out late at nights.

In previous years, residents of Harwood Drive, which runs off the Washington Boulevard, were the targets of robbers who would grab their belongings and flee via the Sandy Gully.  But through regular police patrols and with some of the criminals being either killed or put behind bars, the problem has been lessened.

However, the new concern is about mobile and roving groups of criminals who are routinely in the community in search of victims.

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