The police commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force has addressed concerns about Jamaica’s crime at a public forum at the Marriott Hotel in Brooklyn on July 19.
Major General Anthony Anderson was the keynote speaker at “Arresting Crime and Violence: A National Priority for Jamaica,” — a forum organized by the Jamaica National Group to broach several topics concerning its citizens overseas. One of those subjects was the well-being of Jamaicans returning home after decades abroad. As vulnerable targets to crime, the commissioner said his department was taking careful measures to provide Jamaicans, either residing or owners of property on the island, with some solace in the police force by designating a special unit to address those worries, he said.
“There will be a specific person within a division who will be the liaison person for returning residents, and there will be a diaspora-specific liaison person at my headquarters,” said Anderson.
He added that residents will be able to alert authorities of their presence in the country for immediate action in the case of a possible crime, and for random welfare checks.
“For returning residents in the country — there will be a point of contact there in each division and it will allow for people who wish, to be able to register where they live register with us,” said Anderson. “It allows our officers to pass by every now and then just to check on you.”
And this simple check-up by an officer designated in that division is particularly vital for the elderly, said Anderson.
“People who have returned and are older, and perhaps don’t have the level of familial support that they thought they would — we can fill some of that gap through this person,” he said.
The commissioner said because a growing number of returning residents have found themselves victims of crime, property-owners should be cautious about who they hire to maintain their homes in their absence.
“What we’ve seen around some of the violence perpetrated against returnees, is that it has been by people they know or people they’ve employed, and we’re least able to deal with people they know, but certainly we can around people they employed,” he said.
Anderson said his department can conduct background checks for property-owners in the process of hiring a caretaker for their house and urged that the first step residents take was registering with their police force. The force is currently developing a safety handbook specific to returning residents, which will be accessible on the force’s website this summer. The top cop said despite these measures being put in place to help protect returnees, the bigger job comes with protecting the country.
The best way of securing returning residents is to secure country,” he said. “‘And what is a secure country?’ It’s a series of safe communities connected by safe routes, with a safe border.”