Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared the community of Norwood, in St. James as a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO).
The ZOSO heightens the presence of security forces in a community that has seen an increase in crime. Since the beginning of the year, 15 murders and 14 shootings have occurred in Norwood. Since 2019, within that community, there have been 66 murders recorded. There are also six gangs known to be operating within that community.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Sunday, the Prime Minister noted that the ZOSO has become necessary for Norwood because the area continues to be characterized by criminal activities.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the overall intention in declaring Norwood as a ZOSO is to improve the quality of life of the citizens in that area.
“The ZOSO will target this area and will bring some peace to the community, and will give an opportunity for that community to turn a new leaf in its existence,” he said.
He added that the declaration is also intended to reduce the exposure of children “to various behaviors and the violence in the area.”
Jamaica’s Police Commissioner, Major Antony Anderson said the prevalence of gangs in Norwood is the number one reason why the community was declared a ZOSO. He says he believes increased police presence can loosen the grip of the gangs in that area.
“We believe we can loosen the grip of the gangs on this community through policing activities which target the gangs, their resources and their allies. We are well-aware that there are men, women and children who desperately need for us to build strong social structures to keep the gangs and gangsters out of their neighborhoods,” he said.
ZOSOs currently exist in Mount Salem, St James; West Kingston and August Town in St Andrew. Prime Minister Holness reminded that this law under which the zones are declared was created for upholding and preserving public order and safety within some sections of Jamaica.