West Bayers want to ID suspects

A crime survey filled out by about
100 West Bay residents earlier this year made for some surprising results,
albeit perhaps inadvertently.

According to the data, collected by
a non-profit group during a 3 April meeting of district residents, more than 70
percent of those responding said they would encourage publication of mug shots
or pictures of anyone who had been accused of a “capital crime” – meaning
murders, rapes, robberies and the like. 

More than 90 per cent said they
would support publishing those photos for people who had been charged with a
“capital crime”.

The survey was neither scientific
nor government-sponsored. A total of 112 people at the 3 April meeting
participated, but 14 of the submitted forms were considered spoilt.

Questions five and six on the
survey, which were the ones that asked about identifying and publishing
pictures of suspects, actually did not appear on the survey as they were first
meant to.

Initially, survey-takers were
supposed to answer questions about whether they thought charged and/or
convicted suspects should be named. On the forms, ‘charged’ and ‘convicted’
somehow became ‘accused’ and ‘charged’.

“Questions five and six are
somewhat skewed,” the survey summary stated. “Nevertheless, the public
sentiment is obvious in relation to these issues.”

The Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service has previously released photographs of wanted suspects – particularly
in connection with gun crimes or escapes – even if those suspects were not
currently charged with an offence.

However, police have recently gone
the opposite direction; refusing to even publicly name individuals charged with
an offence. Those suspects are now typically named in court during their first
appearance.

Other issues identified by the West
Bay crime survey included the following:

*Survey respondents mostly wanted a
neighbourhood watch, but few (a little more than ten per cent) actually had one
in their area.

*Respondents overwhelmingly favoured
the use of CCTV cameras along roadsides and in crime hot spots.

*Almost all 98 survey respondents
wanted public notification of residents when a suspect convicted of “capital
crimes” including robbery and rape is released from prison; most (about 90 per
cent) wanted photos of those convicts published.

*A national identification system
for all residents was supported 90-6

*Fingerprinting for work permit
holders was supported 96-2

According to
additional comments made by those who took the survey, West Bay residents
supported arming more police officers, vocational training courses in prisons,
as well as counselling and support for those convicted of crime. Survey-takers
also asked for better anti-loitering enforcement and police canine patrols in
West Bay.

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