Crime has tourism industry’s attention

Safety and security information to be distributed

The tourism industry has slammed crimes targeting tourists.

“All crime is unacceptable. We all have an obligation to fight crime and fight those who choose a life of crime,” said Eric Bush, chairman of CrimeStoppers Cayman.

“Those who are responsible need to understand what they are doing to their brother, sister, mother, father, cousins and friends.”

On 8 February, Cayman CrimeStoppers published a series of safety and security tips for visitors in the Caymanian Compass as well as on the CrimeStoppers website, added Mr. Bush, but even with effectively distributed information some incidents could still occur.

“In my view, it’s one thing to advise people to be vigilant in their surroundings to make sure they don’t make themselves an easy target for the criminal element but [in the East End robbery incident] from my understanding the tourists that were there didn’t do anything wrong.

“They weren’t there late at night; the beach that they were at is a secluded area but a well-known one for tourists to go and in large part is a safe place. In relation to that event, I don’t think any further tips or advice can be provided. It was just a very unfortunate event and I hope the police catch them.”

Mr. Bush said that he talked with visitors regularly and always asked them whether they still felt safe in the Cayman Islands.

“I would say 98 or 99 per cent always say yes. It’s trying to find that balance between reminding people of their responsibility for safety and security vs. blowing it out of proportion and causing so much hype and propaganda in [that process] that you are creating animosity and anxiety with them as well so it’s a fine line we all have to try and balance.”

Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said Cayman is still considered to be a safer destination than other Caribbean islands.

“People do not get hassled or haggled in the streets the way that they might do in other places. We do not want to portray something that is not accurate because it is still a safe and friendly destination – but we do want visitors to be aware [of security and safety] so they can be smart when they are on vacation.”

She said that the reality is that Cayman markets itself as a family friendly destination.

“Safety is one of the key components that is at the top of people’s minds when people think of the Cayman Islands, so we want to make sure we maintain that.

“There’s a fine line in how we can educate our guests in the right way so they are aware of what they need to do, vs. scaring them and it’s something that’s critical.”

Information sharing

Because the Cayman Islands Tourism Association represents over 200 tourism-related businesses, it has the ability to share and disseminate information. Crime prevention is regularly under discussion at meetings, continued Ms Christian.

Some of the accommodations on Seven Mile Beach already share safety info and there has also been a meeting with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service regarding security.

Ms Christian added that at their February meeting, CITA and the Department of Tourism will discuss how the private and public sectors can work together to effectively distribute safety advice.

“Some of the brand properties already have their own company standard on how they present that information but we have talked about developing something again for the non-branded companies that maybe do not.

“There used to be a Sir Turtle Campaign [and there will be] some discussions with the Department of Tourism and their PR department… as to whether we can develop some tourist friendly, safety collateral. We will make sure we can resurrect something like that as a joint initiative.”

1 COMMENT

  1. We have visited Grand Cayman twice a year for over 15 years, and up until recently part of the draw was the low crime rate, and safe feel that the island offered. Altho more pricey than many of the other Caribbean destinations, we felt it well worth the extra cost for safety and security…
    The sleepy island we first knew is rapidly becoming a violent place, with frequent robberies, assualts and murder.Each time i check on the news from the island i see yet another report of these activites, and no sign that the island Police have got a grip on the minority who are involved.
    We are taking our winter holiday elsewhere this year, and if things do not improve on the island from a crime perspective we may well continue to look elsewhere to spend our hard earned money.

  2. Not just family and friends. Civic responsibility extends to, and should be accepted by, every single resident, of whatever nationality, of the Islands. Until this is accepted and taught and practised in families, schools and the community, we lack the most basic element of living in society.

  3. First, the argument of safer than other Caribbean nations is not exactly true. Second, even if it was just as safe as others, the cost is so high that I would rather be safe where I can actually enjoy my vacation.

    The facts are:
    Cayman is 15th in the world for robberies at 1.16 per 1,000 people.

    Cayman is #7 in the world for murders at .1272 per 1,000 people.

    Source: NationalMaster.Com

    This is based off last years statistics and this year (2011) looks like it is going to be another break out year.

  4. I just got back home from Grand Cayman and my impression is that crime is the #1 topic of concern for both residents and visitors. One friend of mine wouldnt even answer the door until they identified me – it certainly wasnt like that two years ago.

    If Eric Bush really believes that 98 or 99 percent of visitors are not concerned about crime rates then I would respectfully suggest that he gets out a bit more and talks to more people.

    Its complacent attitudes like this that will eventually kill the tourism industry.

  5. There are many Websites/Blog sites that are reported Grand Cayman to be a place to avoid. In some respect it is no surprise, there is little to offer here other than the beach. (I.e. there are no Water Parks, Places of significant history etc. The kind of thing many younger families look for) The one thing it really does have to offer is the beach and now these petty criminals are taking that away from one of the islands largest sources of income. But think again because its not just tourists that will stop coming, it is ex-pat workers who also significantly provide revenue to the local economy.

    It may sound harsh but the simple solution is to change the law and quickly. Many Tourist destinations have laws that provide strict penalties for criminals who commit crimes on tourists. Maybe the fixed term of 30 years in jail would make these criminals think twice?

    What these small minded criminals fail to understand is that by committing these crimes the overall Cayman Islands economy will actually get worse and potentially become so unstable that it may takes years for these criminals to get jobs again thus leaving them and there families in an even worse position than they are now.

    Maybe if they used this time to protest and make there voices heard people would be sympathetic there issues. At the moment, we want to see them locked up for a long time and could not care less about there concerns!

    Taking from others is one of the worse crime anyone can commit and should be dealt with accordingly!!

    The RCIPS need to take control and now!!

  6. I keep seeing a trend to say that they need to do more for the tourist on these crimes. Having been there before, I dont think you should concentrate on the tourists because they are a money source. Every Caymanian is vital to your Island. And they are as much in danger as the tourist. Your criminals do not think of tourist or resident, they think of money and get away. Because a tourist may not be there long and would be reluctant to return for a trial, they pick them as the easy target. I think you need to force the issue with the criminal. A few of your undercover officers trolling for criminals and a few of your criminals being arrested or though it would not be nice, a few criminals possibly injured or wounded due to their actions. Make it well known and visible to the criminals that they could very well be next, and you might see a reduction in that type of crime. If not you will have at least gotten some criminals off the street. Good luck and happy hunting.

  7. Here we go again- reacting to situations which many in the community knew was coming; it was simply a matter of time. All of a sudden we have Govt and Tourism experts spouting off for the press and getting themselves in the news as all important, when in fact they are clueless as to the real causes of crime or what to do about it.The question they should answer is when was the last time they had a conversation with an unemployed who has no dreams, hopes or opportunities and the next drink or use of drugs are the most urgent items on their agenda?
    One of the major contributors to todays crime is the accumulation of consequences of failed development, educational and immigration policies by successive Govts. over the past 30 years.
    Anytime you develop and change a country a a rate which exceeds the desires, aspirations and abilities of the people, you are going to leave some folks behind. The ones we left behind in our hurry to get rich ( for a select few), are now in Northward and on the streets. Yet this society seems shocked at the results, like we were not suppose to fail. But fail we did and some of the current Govts policies will only contribute to our failures and more crime will occur.
    Many of our policy makers believe that making statements, proclamations, installing cameras etc will solve this problem; but they are dead wrong.
    Only through a new approach which involves direct contact with the people who we left behind, and designing programs to be implemented on their level, with their involvement and a carrot and stick approach to give these folks some self worth will we have any chance of success.
    So get out your comfort zones community and Govt leaders and hit the streets to get to know these young hopeless souls; seek the help of smart willing people in our communities and lets fix this problem before we reach the point of no return ( about 1 year in my opinion)

  8. What has happened to the Cayman I knew and loved?

    Remember Saturday nights at the Holiday Inn listening to Barefoot Man?

    Remember Crows Nest restaurant?

    How about the old Blue Parrot bar?

    Taking Sunday drives down South Sound and snorkeling at cemetery feeding the fish cheese whiz?

    Remember lazily hanging out with friends and locals on the beach, leaving your door unlocked, and having a laid back soon come attitude?

    It makes me so sad to see what has happened to Cayman, I lived there for a number of years and my family members still live there. My own father was attacked in his home last month by some crazy guy with a machete.

    What has happened to my Cayman?

    I know lots of people reading this remember the good times-take your island back before it is too late.

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