The Royal Cayman Islands Police announced Monday it was adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ policy toward crime.
Some might think the approach drastic, but most residents here who have witnessed the increase in crime and general atmosphere of lawlessness on Grand Cayman since Hurricane Ivan probably agree the strategy is appropriate.
The most effective way to reverse the crime trend is to get tough on all lawbreakers, no matter what the offence.
The circumstances and exigencies created by Hurricane Ivan eroded some of the civility in us all; most survival struggles do.
But now, everyone in this society needs to once again respect the laws of the land.
It starts with the little things like not wearing seatbelts, illegal parking, speeding, and other traffic offences.
It includes littering. After the hurricane, when debris was everywhere, it didn’t seem to matter if someone added one more piece of rubbish to the landscape. That must now stop, and the police should enforce this, too.
The police should also get tough on bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road or without the proper lighting at night; they’re part of the problem, too.
If the police start with the small things, those committing more serious crimes will start to worry they will get caught if they break the law.
After the hurricane, ‘Ivan cars’ were often stripped of valuable parts in broad daylight.
Criminals became emboldened because they felt they could conduct illegal activity with impunity.
Had law-abiding residents reported the car stripping, perhaps things wouldn’t have escalated to daylight gunpoint robberies like we have now.
That is where the public must help.
The RCIP has indicated that it needs members of the public to contribute to the crime-fighting effort by providing information, testifying in court, and refusing refuge to criminals.
The public must also show understanding with the inconveniences this crime clampdown will cause.
Foreign workers in some industries will be required to carry their work permits with them.
There may be long traffic delays caused by police roadblock checks for drunk drivers, illegal contraband, and unlicensed vehicles.
And there will be traffic citations, many for offences that have been seemingly permitted since Hurricane Ivan.
But instead of getting angry at police officers, residents should understand those officers are just doing their job in trying to make Grand Cayman a safe place for us all once again.