Thursday 2 July, 2020

Whitehall Gardens 'under siege' from robbers; residents slam police

For years, the community of Whitehall Gardens has been plagued by robbers who have been making the lives of law abiding residents hell.

Despite constant calls for more police patrols to stem the ever rising tide of robberies, the residents have now resigned themselves that no help will be coming their way from law enforcement.

“The robbers are getting more brazen. Once they used to rob when it gets dark. But now it happens even in the day. They drive in cars, ride those ‘Yeng Yeng’ bikes and use guns and knives to take away our belongings. We are under siege in Whitehall Gardens and, despite our many pleas to the police to patrol the area more often, nothing happens. We have given up. We realize there will be no help coming our way,” one distraught female resident told Loop News.

She was among a number of residents who spoke to our news team about the longstanding criminality affecting the area. They all wished to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted.

The latest incident, according to the residents, took place last Sunday when three men drove up on a female who was making her way home. The hoodlums reportedly grabbed her her handbag containing her cell phone, purse, identification and bank cards, and other important documents.

Luckily, she was physically unharmed.

One resident complained that a man who works as a messenger had his motorcycle stolen moments after he parked the vehicle and went inside his home. But despite a hasty call to the Constant Spring Police Station, the cops didn't arrive until two days later.

“This is totally unacceptable. The man got back his bike and is long after him get back the bike that the police finally turn up? The police do not care about us in this community. The criminals can do with us as they please. Thankfully no lives have been lost,” the resident said.

The residents complain that the robbers will take anything of value and have even robbed a mentally challenged man of $130.

“They held up a madman and take away the man $130 and a ‘bangers’ phone. They stop at nothing,” a woman said.

Robbers have been using the community as a feeding tree for years, with no apparent sustained effort by the St Andrew North Police to apprehend them.

“They park in a car along certain avenues with the lights out but as soon as someone leaves or approaches their homes, the car comes to life and usually three man jump out with knives and guns and rob as they please. They have nothing to fear from the police,” one man said.

The residents say they have even given up making any reports to the police about the robberies as they can see no benefit in doing so.

“What sense does it make? It is just going to take valuable time out of our day and nothing will come of it. We believe the police see these crimes as low priority. This is a working class community and we deserve the protection of the state as all Jamaicans should,” the man said.

Whitehall Gardens is bordered by Whitehall Avenue to the west and south, Red Hills Roads to the north and a tributary of the Sandy Gully to the east.

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