Within the past few months, police investigations in West Bay have resulted in criminal charges for things like littering, illegal dumping and allowing a ferocious dog to be at large.
A 31 May littering incident is believed to be the first such charge recorded in the Cayman Islands for at least the past seven years. Charges filed after a 4 April incident where a man was bitten by a dog are equally rare, if not an altogether unique occurrence, in Cayman.
On Monday, two men were charged with illegal dumping after a car was found abandoned in a dike near Pappagallo restaurant.
‘They said they didn’t have anywhere to take (the vehicle),’ West Bay station commander Angelique Howell said.
According to Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis, the charges in these cases are part of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service efforts to bring greater attention to community-related issues.
‘The focus on crime will continue,’ Mr. Ennis said. ‘But I think what we’ll also do is focus now on some of the quality of life issues around crime. For example: environmental offences, littering, illegal dumping; those things that affect the quality of life of our citizenry.’
Deputy Commissioner Ennis said during a recent press briefing that while those issues may not seem as vital as preventing violent crime, they are important to community safety and welfare.
‘They usually create the environment for other crimes to take place,’ he said.
The person leading the crack-down in West Bay is Chief Inspector Howell. The RCIPS announced earlier this year that it planned to start ticketing people who let their dogs run loose, as well as those who littered or dumped trash illegally.
Inspector Howell and her officers have followed through on those promises.
Ms Howell said, so far, the West Bay community has seemed generally supportive of officers’ efforts.
‘Nobody has really said to me that we are focusing on (these issues) and not other issues,’ she said. ‘I’ve been getting feedback that people are seeing the place (West Bay) looking a little cleaner.’
‘For instance, at Morgan’s Lane…where we had to remove over 3,000 bottles, that area has now been cleaned out. There’s nowhere for anybody to congregate and drink.’
Ms Howell said her officers have taken the initiative in aggressively enforcing laws like illegal dumping and littering after they were shown what evidence was needed to prove such cases in court.
‘If we are addressing quality of life issues like dumping, having your animal stray and chasing people down the road; I think that will make people feel that the police are looking out for their welfare.’