Have we let our guard down again?

Without wanting to frighten anyone unnecessarily, horrific things are happening on this beautiful island and it is vital that we as a community maintain our personal safety and look out for those around us.

The murder of a prominent member of our community took place only a mere five months ago. This month there has been an abduction and several assaults in some of our most popular social and tourist areas. As I write, I have just learnt that the disappearance of Sabrina Schirn has ended in tragic circumstances. It’s truly shocking. Taking extra measures to ensure our safety has now become a priority and this applies to all, men and women, young and old, irrespective of if you’re out and about or at work or home. If you’re driving, ensure that you have enough petrol (a minimum of ¼ to ½ of a tank is recommended) and keep the doors locked. Lock your car when leaving it to go to the ATM or pop into a store. Take your mobile phone with you, charged and with credit, and have numbers of friends, family and emergency services programmed in; calls to 911 can be made from locked cell phones and those with no credit. Parking can be difficult and sometimes we’re forced to park in dubious areas. If you’re out to meet friends, call them and pick them up from outside their home/venue to escort you to park. If you suspect you’re being followed in the car, don’t drive home, but to the police station, gas station, or anywhere you can get help. It goes without saying that we should not drink and drive. Make sure you have that taxi money and numbers to hand. If you’re meeting someone new, even if you feel you know them really well from long telephone conversations or emails, you need to let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting. Arrange a call from a friend to check all is well and, if you go somewhere else, let that person know to initiate a pre-planned back up plan of what to do if they can’t get hold of you.

If you’re out and feel uneasy for whatever reason tell someone, even at the risk of feeling awkward or embarrassed, just go up to someone and tell them.

Emma Roberts – Counsellor with the Employee Assistance Programme of Cayman Islands

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