JAM | Sep 18, 2023

Vandalism of FLOW’s equipment ‘seems like it is almost an organised crime’ – Price

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Telecoms provider reports 30 to 40 cases per week

Vandalised Flow cables in St Ann that previously led to service disruptions to the most populous sections of the parish. (Photo contributed)

Vice president and general manager of Flow Jamaica, Stephen Price, says vandalism of its equipment is now averaging between 30 to 40 per week in 2023, with incidents occurring every day across the island.

He said that the number of reported cases of vandalism has got worse since the COVID-19 pandemic, which is costing the company between US$1 million and US$2 million every year for restoration.

“It’s almost gotten violent in some instances. It really seems like it is almost an organised crime of some sort just based on the [fact that] people armed are the ones going after [the cables] now. We have about 20 or 30 people before the courts right now, but the wheel of justice takes time. Many of them are previous offenders,” he told Our Today in an interview.

Price said that Flow has been working on its security apparatus to tackle the issue, as well as working with local law enforcers. He shared that the company has also been tracking the progress of cases to keep up to date on the persecution of offenders.

Stephen Price

“The key in this mix is the cooperation of our citizens who have been helpful. They’ve been calling Crime Stop and making reports whenever it happens. They have been calling us as well. So, that’s key to us staying ahead of it,” said Price.

He added that Flow has also put other security mechanisms in place that cannot be shared.

Vandalism and copper theft at the telecommunications company is a growing issue that has cost Flow billions in revenue. Price previously reported that it has suffered more than 300 cases of vandalism and copper theft, which cost the company US$10 million in revenues last year and US$2 million in restoration fees. The figures for 2023 have not yet been released.


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