How to deal with the gang of five
Stabroek News
April 13, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Thus far, the gang of five (or seven) has eluded and outsmarted the security services. This is no way a tribute to their intellect but more to a failure of the nimble minds in the security services to intelligently anticipate the actions of the gang. Certain facts have presented themselves that may appear random but are linked and tell a story.

The first fact is their established modus operandi: they hijack a private car, dispose of the occupant (the method of achieving this appears to be escalating), and they commit a series of robberies before 'going underground'. Several motives for these robberies have centered upon the satisfaction of basic needs for food, shelter and (yes) gasoline. Secondly, they have remained very mobile, operating between Linden (where the cell phone was found) and points along the East Coast. They have however indicated a willingness to hibernate in secluded areas that are accessible by vehicles. Thirdly, and most important is the state of mind of the gang as a group. They appear willing to kill without hesitation, exhibiting a 'cornered rat' mentality.

In my opinion, there are several approaches to tackling this problem, that the security services need to employ:

1. Saturate the 'target area/s' with four-man teams of plain-clothes operatives (with proper identification of course), heavily armed and equipped (communications). These teams will provide intelligence gathering and act as a first response to reported 'incidents of value'. They will severely limit the gang's mobility and act as cut-offs, where needed, in a coordinated response.

2. Establish choke points in and out of the city and along the coast, that are manned continuously to provide observation and the basis of snap road blocks and/or check points.

3. Assign the key task of patrolling heavily wooded or forested areas, to teams of fighting patrols formed by the military and assisted by the police to establish the legal consent to engage any or all opposition.

This is an expensive undertaking but it's the cost of 'letting the lion loose', and preventative measures now are a bit late. Couple these with other strategies and the gang is most likely to react in a predictable manner. It is essential therefore that these individual members of the gang are profiled to determine their leadership structure and predictable behavior. Having dealt with this problem, there ought to be a thorough review by the security forces of their successes and failures, so that lessons learned could form the basis of future operations and approach to crime prevention and control in general.

Yours faithfully,

Merrill Hyman Sr.