Monday 14 October, 2019

Robberies ‘going through the roof’ in downtown Kgn - business people

Several weeks after they complained about the number of robberies taking place in and around downtown Kingston, members of the business community say the attacks have intensified.

Business owners say for months they have been calling on the authorities to increase their presence in the commercial spaces, but despite the calls, they believe not enough is being done to stem the problem.

“The situation has reached a point where now you are having at least three robberies per day,” said a business operator who runs a store on Princess Street.

“You have from the regular attacks of persons doing business in the commercial space, to those taking place at nights, which is when the all-out attacks take place,” said another operator who spoke to Loop News during a tour of the downtown area on Monday.

Business operators said the situation has reached a point where the criminals, it appears, believe there has been a reduction in police presence, and as a result, they have intensified their illegal acts.

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“We are having cases where robbers are now operating in groups of five or more when they are breaking into business places,” said an obviously frightened operator who numbered among business people who spoke but asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisal.

“The most recent attack in the commercial space took place on Princess Street where criminals broke into a store and stole large sums of cash, close to a million (dollars) or more. We had another case just this week where men used power tools to cut open a section of the roof to a store. You know the situation reach a certain stage when criminals in one attack used sledge hammers to knock off several locks to a store and were not afraid that their banging would make too much noise,” a female business operator said literally in tears.

Another operator said in one attack against his business, criminals came with an electrician who disconnected the power to the premises, rendering the alarm system useless.

But while the calls continue to come in about robberies, the police said they are committed to tackling the problem, but said there continues to be one major setback.

“Many of these business operators are not reporting the cases. They are falling victims, but whenever they come under attack they are going silent,” said a senior police officer from the Kingston Central Police Division.

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