You are here
Crime comes to peaceful Diamond Vale
Nestled at the foothills of the lush Diego Martin forest, Diamond Vale epitomises serenity and security. Well manicured lawns and freshly painted houses lined the streets. The area represents a sanctuary to the weary after a long day’s work. But there is a creeping danger: Strangers who lurk in the dark. Unknown vehicles also speed by causing panic by some residents. Last Thursday, former national swimmer Edison Phipps was shot dead while walking along Aquamarine Drive, near his home. The 31-year-old father of a one-year-old baby boy was hit twice in the back of the head and once in the back as he pushed his son’s stroller, off Jasper Avenue. The killer escaped in a waiting vehicle. Police are yet to establish a motive for the crime. The murder, officers of the West End Police Station described, was a well orchestrated “hit.” Some residents yesterday expressed concern, saying Phipps’ murder struck fear into their hearts and rattled their peaceful community. While praising the efforts of the West End Police residents, however, unanimously called for increased foot and mobile patrols in the Diamond Vale district.
Need for neighbourhood watch
Trustee of the Central Diego Martin Community Centre, Katherine Andrews, described Phipps’ murder as “disgraceful.” She claimed it took the District Medical Officer (DMO) over two hours to arrive to view the body and order its removal to the Forensic Science Centre in St James. She said: “It bothers me to see how some of the young men operate and when they kill somebody they lie on the street like a dog. “Tears came to my eyes because it sad and it is bothersome. Those same people who marching for crime should go in the church and kneel down,” Andrews said. She said there was once a vibrant watch group operating on Jasper Avenue, which included the presence of a police constable at the meetings. However, about four years ago the group was disbanded as previous police commissioners did not see the need for the continuance of the organisation, Andrews said.
She added: “But we are hoping that with this new commissioner things will get back on stream because the watch group is urgently needed. “At one time there was one at Blue Range where it was suggested that everybody park their cars facing the road in the nights so if anything happens they would just turn on their car lights,” Andrews said. Saying there was some degree of uneasiness at Jasper Avenue, Andrews said unsuspecting residents coming home late at night might be victim of car theft or carjackings. Housebreaking, she said, was also a common crime which forced homeowners to shell out large sums of money to install additional security features. “As fast as they break into the homes, people make changes like putting in more wrought iron to the back or add razor wire,” Andrews said.
Pointing to one house, she said there was a river at the back, frequently used by criminals. Describing officers at the West End Station as “good and hard working” Andrews, however, said the presence of the lawmen must be immediately increased. “There are a lot of elders who get up early to take their morning walk and we don’t see any police around. We want to see them,” Andrews demanded. Echoing her sentiments, another elderly woman said the reintroduction of a neighbourhood crime watch would strengthen the community. “This used to be a good area for the kids but it’s no longer so. We need the police to walk around and let us see them. “We definitely need to have frequent meetings and work with the police. I feel relatively safe because I am fully burglar-proofed right around,” she added.
‘Phipps’ murder well organised’
Outsiders, some residents believed, have been frequenting Diamond Vale, tarnishing the community’s good name. Several young men said they believed Phipps was killed because he was “in something” adding that “it might be gang related.” They contended that “no one from the area would put down a hit. “You have to be doing somebody something for them to do you something. And that fella (Phipps), they mark he because that was not a random killing.” “Unless they coming to rob that is a different story,” one young man said. He said before Phipps was killed there were regular mobile patrols at Jasper Avenue. “I still feel relatively safe because I know the police working.
But I expect crime because no Government in any fashion could stop crime so you have to expect it,” he added. Resident Colin Joseph, 31, called for greater unity among neighbours, saying often times everybody “ remain just for themself.” “Nobody don’t really come out if anything happen because everybody just for themself. “Neighbours need to live more together and look out for one another,” Joseph said. Asked if he felt safe living at Jasper Avenue Joseph quickly said: “Yes, because I know I not doing anybody anything. They worst thing can happen is if somebody wants to come and rob. “But I don’t feel comfortable to walk the road by myself after certain hours.
I would be inside by ten in the night for the latest because after that it is “bummy” everybody just watching and marking,” Joseph said. Expressing concern that “outsiders” were entering the community, Joseph said it was impossible to stop them. “Outsiders coming in because some of the fellas who living here is obvious their friends would come in,” Joseph said. Another resident, who only gave his name as “Sammy”. said he believed criminal elements already have crept into his neighbourhood. “Your really don’t know who is bandit and who is who. Crime already here and I don’t go anywhere because of that,” he added.
Acting ASP Henry Dann, of the Western Division, has assured the police presence in the Diego Martin district, including Diamond Vale, had increased. Saying that Diamond Vale was not the “typical high crime area” Dann said anti-crime measures already have been implement to make residents feel safer. “Some are increased patrols and there are some because of the nature in which the police operate we cannot disclose to members of the public,” Dann said. He said the most serious incidents in Diamond Vale was “house-breaking, here and there.” “But it is not an area where murders or serious crimes are concentrated. But we are out there and are doing all that we can in keeping criminals at bay,” Dann added.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.