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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » THIEVES CONTINUE TO PREY ON STUDENTS AND VISITORS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES MONA CAMPUS, KINGSTON!

THIEVES CONTINUE TO PREY ON STUDENTS AND VISITORS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES MONA CAMPUS, KINGSTON!

 

Tight security at the main entrance of the UWI Mona campus. - File
Tight security at the main entrance of the UWI Mona campus. – File—

By Ryon Jones–

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus does not offer a course in criminality, but some persons now roaming the facility seem to have a degree in that subject as they prey on students and visitors, stealing anything they can.

The campus on which the 66-year-old institution sits has become a hunting ground for criminals, with several vehicles broken into in the past few days.

Sources involved in providing security on the campus told our news team that at times the number of reported break-ins on the campus for one week reaches double figures.

“It is not heaven gate you come through whenever you drive your vehicle come on campus,” said one source.

“Malicious destruction of property and simple larceny occur on a regular basis. It is a sore point when it comes to larceny, especially breaking into motor vehicles. We have it left, right and centre; sometimes up to 10 for the week. Some of these matters are still under investigation and we haven’t found a closure to these cases,” added the source.

He admitted that the police are under pressure to catch the criminals.

“Whenever we catch one of the perpetrators we say ‘we bingo’, because is lucky we get lucky,” another Sunday Gleaner source shared.

“Even students are involved and they are brilliant minds, so they try to perfect the crime,” added that source.

The criminal acts are taking place despite the presence of a police station on the campus, with 27 cops and a number of private security guards.

Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Keith ‘Trinity’ Gardner, who is the director of security for the campus, last week confirmed that the students are being preyed on.

 

Keith "Trinity" Gardener

Keith “Trinity” Gardner

However, Gardner argued that steps are being taken to get rid of the criminals.

“We have identified five of these persons and they have had to flee because the August Town community is hell-bent on getting rid of them,” Gardner told The Sunday Gleaner.

According to Gardner, the majority of the culprits are believed to be adolescents.

“There have been a number of robberies on the campus involving young persons between the ages of 13 and 17 years old. We are concerned about the state of car break-ins, but at the same time it is not possible or desirable to have a guard or policeman at every place on campus,” argued Gardener.

He said the security team has been working overtime to tackle the problem, but so far the wrongdoers have remained one step ahead of them.

“I feel that it is a highly organised group of persons doing it and they are communicating with each other,” said Gardner.

TROUBLE SPOTS

“There are about four or five trouble spots that we have posted guards or policemen, but as we put them (security personnel) one place the criminals find another place. I am convinced that although we have a certain level of patrol there are persons on certain locations that call their friends and say ‘the guard just moved, or the police just moved’.

UWI:Campus

“When it reaches a stage now where people start smashing cars, you know they don’t have the time now to use an instrument to pry the pivot window open, it is a quick thing now, smash and grab,” declared Gardener.

Our news team was introduced to three persons who lost valuables from their motor vehicles minutes apart last Tuesday evening.

A member of staff of the university returned to his car, which was parked in the parking lot near the health centre following a football game, to find his front passenger window lying on the ground, shattered.

“My bag with my laptop inside and a lot of electronic items and thumb drives with important files on them …, gym bag with gym equipment, shoes, all my swimming gear, everything gone,” the visibly upset victim shared.

A young lady, who was on campus to attend an hourlong aerobics class, returned to her Suzuki Grand Vitara, which was parked close to the vehicle of the first victim, to find out that her handbag, which was in the trunk, was missing. The thieves gained access to her vehicle by breaking a glass.

Both persons went to the UWI Mona Police Station where they were joined by a third victim – a student, who said his Honda motor car was parked in front of Chancellor Hall.

He returned to his vehicle to find that his glass was smashed and his laptop removed. The police were only able to take statements, as they did not have the necessary equipment to dust for fingerprints.

“When I went to the station, they took a statement and said I was just another statistic, it happens all the time,” the female victim recounted.

Gardner is promising that within the next four months more technology will be employed to boost security on campus.

“In the medium term, we will be moving to an integrated security system that is buttressed by our dependence on electronic security; that is surveillance, electronic control and so on. The first phase of this should be on stream by August.”

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com

 

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