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Belair residents alarmed over robberies in area

Belair residents alarmed over robberies in area

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Some residents of Belair have expressed alarm at reports of robberies and burglaries committed against some students of the All Saints University residing in the area.{{more}}

On April 5, SEARCHLIGHT reported the concerns of eight students from Pakistan, Canada and Nigeria, who were victims of robberies or burglaries, some of which, they said, involved violence.

Some Belair residents claimed that they were not aware of some of the incidents and felt the need to express their concerns.

“For many of us the university created some means of income,” said one of the apartment owners.

The individual, who operates a taxi service and a two-storey apartment building in Upper Belair, requested that we address him by his alias, “Boss”.

Boss told SEARCHLIGHT that he has a “tight” relationship with the students and is disheartened by the reports of the burglaries, not to mention the comments from students who were affected.

“It’s not good at all!

Reading the article and hearing students saying they won’t recommend their friends to come here, because of their experience, come on, we have to do better as a community.

“Since the break-ins, most students are afraid to go about as they usually did in the past and that kind of slow down the operations of the taxi side of my business…,” he added.

The entrepreneur told SEARCHLIGHT that his apartment has never been broken into and this, he said, may be as a result of his regular patrols around his premises and “good neighbouring”.

“I visit my apartment sometimes two or three times a night and, so far, no complaints. The neighbours around, we keep a look out for each other as well.

“So, if for instance, we see a suspicious individual in the area we are not familiar with or any suspicious movements, we alert each other.”

He further revealed that during the past week, he has seen an increase in police patrols in the area and commended the authorities for their actions.

“I have invested a lot in both my taxi service and apartment and in the event they decide to make the same move and pack up and leave because of these inconsiderate acts, I, like many others will lose a lot,” the young man said.

During a visit to Belair on Wednesday, this reporter observed the construction of a number of buildings and was informed that they were being built for rental to the medical students.

Since the opening of the All Saints University in September 2011, SEARCHLIGHT was told that more than 25 new apartment buildings were constructed for rental to the students and more are presently being constructed.

Presently, construction is also underway on the university’s compound, where a new lab is being built. There are also plans to add another classroom.

At a press conference last Tuesday, April 9, area representative Cecil McKie revealed that enrolment at the All Saints University is to increase from 161 to 200 students.

Another concerned resident, who goes by the name Garfield and operates a snackette several yards from the entrance of the university, says his business has been operating there for 13 years.

“I was here way before the university open.”

However, since the opening, Garfield says his business has “picked up”.

“Something like this happening in the community reflects badly. I don’t want the students to think that the area is not safe and they cannot trust the people here,” he added.

Garfield, like his fellow residents, is pleased that police patrols have increased in the area and hopes that it’s a continuous effort on the part of the police.

“I hope they don’t just do it now because the information was publicized. The regular patrols are needed. This is an international institution and we have various nationals living around these parts and therefore they must want to have that sense of safety,” Garfield added.

“It’s disgusting, hurting and inconsiderate,” said another resident, in relation to the burglaries.

An individual who requested that his identity be withheld as well, is a taxi operator and on a daily basis transports the students to and from school.

“The students and I have a great relationship and I’ve never heard them complain before about anyone in Belair mistreating or harassing them. But these robberies seem to have taken a toll on things as they (students) are now mostly staying indoors.

“Belair was one of the quietest villages, but the few bad apples have tarnished our good reputation and it has to stop.”

The taxi operator said the establishment of the university is a benefit, not only to the community, but the nation and “these negative actions serve no good to country or community.” (AA)

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