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Norwood abandoned

Norwood in Montego Bay, St. James, is a 'no-no' for some residents and real estate agents, who refuse to buy or sell houses in the area because of the violence.

Norwood is a large community located in north-west St. James. It is bordered by Flankers in the north, Glendevon to the south, Montego Hills to the east and Paradise to the west. There are several areas, such as Airport Norway, Paradise Norwood, Hendon Norwood, Hollywood, Norwood Meadows and other settlements located in this sprawling district.

It has been the scene of some brutal murders in the last two years and is said to be the headquarters of the notorious Stone Crusher gang. It is for this reason that many persons have been packing their furniture to move out of houses, or taking back deposits on houses and lots in the area. The situation is so bad that when real estate agents mention the letters 'Nor' customers flee.

"If they hear the word 'Nor', not even Norwood, they don't want to go there. We have to be convincing customers that not all of Norwood is bad. We tell them that the airport is considered a part of Norwood just to get them to buy or rent somewhere there," said a spokesperson of Lawrence Rental & Investments in Montego Bay.

Some Montego Bay residents have also shunned the area.

"I got a NHT (National Housing Trust) lot in the area but I took back my money because I work at nights and I want to know that when I am coming home I can do so without anybody bothering me or threatening my life," said Simon Green, a Montego Bay resident.

Other residents who live in Hendon, Norwood, where most of the violence happens, say most persons shy away from buying or renting houses in the community and many who have houses there want to leave.

"If I had money I would have left long ago," said Gerald Palmer, a resident of Hendon, Norwood.

"I am tired of the killings. I have a room renting and can't get nobody decent to come here because they are afraid. I know of houses in the community that are empty because of what's going on," Palmer added.

Another realtor said he refuses to drive near Norwood. He adds that although Norwood Meadows is safe no one wants to buy houses in that area.

"Nobody can get me to go to Hendon, Norwood. If someone calls me selling a house in Hendon, Norwood, I don't take the information. I have houses in Norwood Meadows selling and no one wants to buy them because of the stigma attached to the area. No matter how low the prices in the area are, nobody wants to buy it," said the realtor.

Although Hendon, Norwood, has cast a stigma on the entire area, realtors say some areas such as Norwood Meadows still attract buyers. They add that the NHT lots and Airport Norwood remain popular places. However, efforts to get a comment from the NHT about the response to their lots were unsuccessful up to press time.

Names changed on request

June 14, 2007

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