Police: Shed light on streets

Many of Grand Cayman’s pitch dark streets and neighbourhoods can offer a terrific view of the starry night sky.

But the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is concerned those darkened streets may also offer burglary suspects cover as they try to break into homes, businesses or vehicles.

During recent burglary prevention patrols around various areas including Walkers Road., South Sound, Hinds Way and Denham Thompson Way, officers noted sections of the island were simply too dark.

‘The majority of areas patrolled need either new or additional street lights to act as a deterrent to offenders, but also to assist with descriptions should someone see an offender in the area,’ a recent RCIPS press release stated.

Burglary is by far the most frequently reported serious crime in the Cayman Islands. Last year 610 burglaries were reported to police. In 2005, 901 burglaries were reported.

The Caribbean Utilities Company is responsible for installing and maintaining streetlights for the Cayman Islands government. CUC spokesperson Caren Thompson said the location and the type of streetlights used are authorized by the government.

Ms Thompson said CUC generally restores a streetlight that is not working properly within a few days after it’s discovered.

Getting a brand new streetlight installed in an area where there is no lighting requires that a specific request be made to the National Roads Authority.

‘Each request has to be assessed,’ said Denis Thibeault with the NRA. ‘Depending what it is, or what facilities are built out there, and whether there have been previous requests; we would then advise the Ministry (of Works and Infrastructure).’

Ms Thompson said certain areas require brighter lighting because more people use those roads.

‘High traffic areas generally have a higher level of lighting than other areas, which is why it may be perceived that lighting is dim in some areas,’ she said.

Ms Thompson said installation of street lights on public roads is paid for by the government, and is factored into CUC’s monthly billing rate to the government.

A private sector business which requests a streetlight from the NRA may be charged if it is placed on their property.

CUC also offers a private area lighting service to customers for home security purposes. Ms Thompson said this can be handled through the utility’s customer service department, and does not require the NRA’s approval.

To report a faulty street light, customers can call CUC’s service hotline at 949-4300.

The National Roads Authority can be contacted at 946-7780.