Murders driving us crazy! - Gangsters wreaking havoc on Campbell's Lane residents
For the residents of Campbell's Lane in volatile Mt Salem, St James, life has become hell as armed gangsters have all but transformed the community into a shooting gallery and murders haven.
"They (the gangs) are always shooting at each other. I can't sleep at night. It is driving me crazy. My nerves are shattered. I am a living wreck," a resident told THE WESTERN STAR last week.
"My doctor has given me some medication to help me sleep, but it is not working. It seems as if my fear is stronger than the medicine."
While Campbell's Lane is not the only section of Mt Salem that has had more than 12 murders since the start of the year, its location makes it the epicentre. It is located between Katon Lane and Crawford Street, two areas dominated by gangsters.
"We do get regular police foot patrols, but as soon as they leave, the shooting starts again," an elderly woman told THE WESTERN STAR.
"I am afraid to turn on light in my house. I am afraid to watch my television. When dem not shooting, I can hear dem walking around outside. I have to be walking on tiptoes in my own house."
While the police are blaming the ongoing violence on lottery scammers and gangsters seeking to establish criminal control in the community, some residents say a deportee who recently fled the area is primarily to blame.
"When dat man deh yah, it is always problem. It is him behind the gangs and guns. Those who don't support him, him try to get them out," a young woman told THE WESTERN STAR.
Another young woman who works in a business establishment in downtown Montego Bay says a combination of a lack of sleep, and fear, has altered her personality so badly that it is affecting her work.
"I know that I am quite grumpy and zombie-like nowadays because I am so traumatised. But thankfully, my boss understands my situation and is not holding it against me," said the woman.
The St James police, who have labelled Mt Salem one of the parish's premier hotspots, said a number of gangsters have been arrested and several weapons seized in recent times. But they believe that with greater support from residents, they would have had even more success.
"The residents know who the gangsters are. Some families are shielding them. They need to start giving up these criminals," a senior police officer told THE WESTERN STAR.