Crime & CCTV update

In 2006 the Chamber commissioned an Economic Crime Survey titled Combating Economic Crime (available in the reports and publications section of the Chamber website). The purpose of this survey was to establish the prevalence of economic crime and the impact on Cayman businesses. It was discovered that the main threats to the Cayman Islands came from money laundering, embezzlement, cheque and credit card fraud and cyber fraud. Identity theft, bribery and corruption were also major concerns. Over one third of the respondent businesses indicated they had been involved in at least one instance of economic crime over the last year (2005-2006). In total an estimated annual loss for all Cayman businesses was approximated at $20 million.
In a time when we are all looking to increase revenue and reduce expenditure these are serious figures to take into account. The good news is that because of this survey, local businesses have been made more aware of the possible criminal activities that they may encounter and what is available to mitigate their individual risks. We are working with Krys & Associates and will shortly be releasing a follow-up survey to see how far we have come in the last four years, which we encourage all Chamber businesses to complete. Results from this will be posted on our website.
More recently, in February the Chamber hosted a presentation about the rise in a new type of crime – violent crime. This was part of our Be Informed series that also discussed the use of CCTV in both businesses and on a national scale as part of a government initiative to be proactive in our fight against an apparent increase in crime.
Since February we have had three more killings including a four year old boy and an attempted murder and the community has every right to be concerned for two main reasons, one of them being of course personal safety and another being the effect on investment and tourism to our Islands. This is a Cayman that we don’t recognise. We have traditionally been a quiet, stable and remarkably safe place to conduct business, raise a family or visit as a tourist. Caymanian people have a long history of being hard working and industrious in their bid to bring wealth and prosperity to these Islands; and the strong sense of community and service to God has served them well over time.
But with technology, You Tube and the increasing influence of world popular culture we were bound to evolve eventually into something more diluted. In February, David Baines, the commissioner of Police ensured us that these recent crimes could be identified to “a few” individuals and were related to both gangs and drugs. Since then, Commissioner Baines has been successful in 11 arrests and we can all be grateful that we are making strides against this pocket of violent and selfish individuals.
At the same Be Informed presentation, Deputy Chief Officer of the Portfolio of Internal & External Affairs Eric Bush told us of Government’s plans to investigate the opportunities for CCTV in the Cayman Islands. This can sometimes be quite a controversial subject with infringement of privacy issues, but the general consensus at this particular event and continuing community response seems to that of “whatever keeps us safe”.
The CCTV Task Force is made up of representatives from RCIPS, 911 Emergency Communications, Computer Services, Legal Department, Chamber of Commerce representative and members of the public with Mr. Bush as the chair; meeting at least once weekly since January 2010.
The task force has also engaged the services of a consultant to design the CCTV system including camera placement, data backhaul, display configuration and specifications. In addition to this, the consultant will be preparing a draft RFP that government will advertise, soliciting on-island security companies to build the system. The consultant’s work is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2010.
In addition to compiling information regarding the location and type of CCTV equipment used at government facilities, the task force has created a survey for distribution to the community focusing on CCTV systems in the public sector. The Government Legal Department is drafting a code of practice that will guide the operational usage of cameras by government staff in accordance with the law and best practices of other jurisdictions that are using CCTV. Mr. Bush, in conjunction with the RCIP, hopes that the implementation of CCTV will help reduce general anxiety levels about personal and property safety, as well as provide high quality evidence to be used by the Police, Immigration and Customs to prosecute offenders. All in all, it’s another step in the right direction.
Two other groups that are playing a significant role in our efforts and are endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce are the newly formed Prevention of Crime Group made up of businessmen who are taking a practical look at what can be done ‘on the ground’ and Cayman CrimeStoppers, which provides a secure and confidential way to provide information to the police by calling a 800 TIPS (8477).
Let us keep the momentum going and prove to ourselves and the world that these recent incidents are not epidemic but more of a wake-up call to our community. Let’s work together to make Cayman safe again.