Jamaica finalizes security plan


KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Jamaican officials settled the details of a plan to bolster security in resort areas with military resources.

In a meeting held this week here. the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of National Security and Justice agreed that civil defense units would serve as backup for police departments in the island nation's resort areas. The security will be added incrementally during the coming months, a spokesman for the Jamaica Tourist Board said.

The civil defense members will patrol the beaches and towns in plainclothes, the spokesman said, adding that the number of uniformed police officers on bike and foot patrols will be increased.

The program, which was made public last month at the Caribbean Hotel Association Marketplace in Puerto Rico, will underscore a zero-tolerance stance against antisocial behavior, comparable to cleanup efforts in New York by Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, the spokesman said.

Although security will be increased, tourism officials stressed that potential visitors' stays on the island will not be marred by the sight of armed troops in the streets of Jamaica's tourist areas. "There will be no noticeable change to the visitor in terms of police presence," the spokesman said.

The plan also comes with a community education project from the Jamaica Tourist Board. The organization, the spokesman said, will go into schools to educate the residents about the importance of tourism in the area.

The spokesman said that past moves to intensify security have had positivie results. During the past 10 years, reported incidents against visitors have dropped 50%, with a 75% drop in the past two years, he said.

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