Hugh Graham, the member of parliament (MP) for St Catherine North Western, has called for the installation of CCTV cameras in Linstead to help fight crime in the burgeoning township.
Graham, a first-term MP, said violent crimes, particularly shootings and murders, are threatening stability of the area. He reasoned that the use of CCTV cameras could be instrumental in the investigation of crimes, while at the same time act as a deterrent to persons seeking to commit criminal acts.
"I am surprised that somewhere like Linstead doesn't have a JamaicaEye system. We have two main entrances so it would make sense if we have some cameras at the two major points," Graham said.
"Linstead isn't really an open place because to get in and get out is very limited. I am thinking that if we have two areas that are being covered then that would also make a big difference to the area. It would be good if we have one in Linstead town itself as well," he added.
JamaicaEye is part of an islandwide network of camera surveillance systems designed to increase the safety of all citizens. These cameras will monitor public spaces and assist the authorities in responding to incidents in the event of disaster, an act of criminality or accident.
Graham's call for the installation of CCTV cameras in Linstead comes against the backdrop of increased criminal activities in the town within recent weeks. A section of the popular Linstead Market was razed by fire, thought to be the work of arsonists on June 1. There have been at least three cases of shootings in the town in recent weeks, one of which claimed the life of 47-year-old Deslan White, owner of Your Choice Family Pharmacy.
"From my tracking, the earlier part of the year, let's say up to May, has been pretty much quiet," Graham said. "I was keeping my fingers crossed and mouth shut that we would be going on good, but since May things have gone downhill," he added.
Graham surmised that the displacement of criminals to areas that have been subjected to enhanced security measures such as states of emergency (SOEs) and zones of special operation may be contributing to criminality in Linstead.
"Whenever you have these SOEs in the hotspots, they will run to other areas and you will end up with flare-ups in these areas like Linstead," Graham said.
The MP has called on community groups, such as neighbourhood watch, to be on the lookout for strange people in their areas and report them to the police. He also said that it is important that the government creates programmes to divert unattached youths from criminal activities.
"Apprenticeship programmes for unattached youths is a suggestion from me. I know the schools do a lot by calling the business places and ask that the students be offered internships, and be a part of the summer job programmes and so on, and that is good. But I think it needs to be bigger and more on a national level," Graham added.