St Lucia crime surge linked to gang activity – commissioner

St Lucia police suggest that the recent spate of crime over the past two weeks is a result of the activities of gangs.

St Lucia police suggest that the recent spate of crime over the past two weeks is a result of the activities of gangs. (File)

CASTRIES, St.Lucia, Friday July 18, 2014, CMC – Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says intelligence obtained by St Lucia police suggests that the recent spate of violence and shootings in the capital over the past two weeks is a result of the activities of criminal gangs.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday, Francois said his men will spare no effort in going after the criminals and ensuring that they are brought to justice.

Police have been investigating five murders and several other shootings within city limits over the past weeks, and this week announced that a number arrests had been made.

Francois told journalists that the police force has developed new strategies to deal with the issue, adding that instead of conducting regular patrols, intelligence is being used to target specific communities.

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He said troubled sections of the capital such as Chaussee Road, Wilton Yard, Leslie Land and Morne Du Don are major target areas.

He recalled that at the beginning of the year, police had to deal with a similar situation in Morne Du Don.

“The force was able to tackle that through intelligence-led policing, putting together our targeted packages,” he said.

According to him, 15 arrests were made during those operations, adding that the same strategies will be used to rid communities of the individuals responsible for the recent shootings.

“We will not back down…we have achieved some degree of success,” he added.

Last week, the police recovered three firearms along with matching ammunition while four persons were arrested and charged for the murder of 35-year-old Yulanda Fredrick.

In relation to the shooting of a 19-year-old male in Conway, two people have been arrested.

François said, “I want to warn the criminals in those areas that we are out to get them and there is not going to be any back down on our part. We are going to do everything it takes, within the laws of St. Lucia to deal with the criminal elements in our midst.”