Juveniles creating mayhem out west
Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of operations for the Westmoreland Police Division, Adrian Hamilton, is reporting that the involvement of children in serious crimes continues to alarm lawmen.
"It has become a major concern the frequency in which juveniles, mostly young men, are finding themselves at an alarming rate on the wrong side of the law," he told THE STAR. "Up to September 18, records show that 106 children have been either a victim or a perpetrator of crime in the parish. When broken down, the alarming figures show that 25 of this amount have been perpetrators who contributed to crimes... ."
Hamilton noted that investigations have also revealed that a number of these teenage perpetrators are repeat offenders. He was giving details about the seizure of four illegal firearms, several rounds of ammunition, and the arrest of six persons, including four teenage boys, during three operations in the parish on the weekend.
Reports are that about 8 p.m., last Friday, members of a joint military team accosted a 16-year-old and Ackeem Garrick, 23, along Hudson Street, in Savanna-la-Mar, and searched them. They were found in possession of a Kel Tec 9mm pistol with a magazine containing ten 9mm rounds. They were both taken into custody, where Garrick has since been charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. About 3 p.m. last Saturday, members of a police patrol accosted Garth Spence, 21, and a juvenile along Dalling Street and also searched them. Spence, who is also reporting on condition of bail for murder, was found in possession of a 9mm pistol, with a magazine containing fifteen 9mm rounds. He was charged for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
In the third incident, the Grange Hill police stopped three teenagers along Mint Road, and found them in possession of two homemade handguns and a machete. Tyrone Cardwell, 19, and a 17-year-old were charged with illegal possession of firearm, while Mario Smith, 18, was charged for being in possession of an offensive weapon. Hamilton also attributed the seizures to increased operational focus with emphasis on stop-and-search activities, especially in crime hotspots.
"Since the start of the year, we have seized 31 illegal firearms and 298 assorted rounds of ammunition, and this is in comparison to 19 illegal firearms, and 222 assorted rounds of ammunition seized during the same correspondent period last year," Hamilton stated, noting the support of the Jamaica Defence Force.