Editorial for July 22, 2011: Let’s not panic

With two high-profile, violent crimes involving the shooting of innocent people having occurred recently, it’s not surprising Grand Cayman citizens are jittery. 

Perhaps one manifestation of that jitteriness occurred Wednesday, when a woman sent a BlackBerry message from her smart phone telling about how a man tried to open the locked passenger door of her car while she was on the road near the schools on Walkers Road. The message gave a description of the man and warned people to lock their car doors after entering their vehicles.

The message was circulated throughout the island, prompting the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to issue an appeal yesterday afternoon for the author of the message to come forward so they could determine whether it was legitimate or a prank intended to spread fear and alarm throughout the community.

The Caymanian Compass chose not publish the Police press release because we felt that it could do exactly what the original message did – spread fear – even though it may not have been legitimate.

It turns out, the threat wasn’t real.

The author of the message called the police Thursday morning to say that a short time after the incident – and after she sent the BlackBerry message – she realised she knew the man trying to enter her car, but hadn’t recognised him initially. She then sent out another message, but it wasn’t circulated as widely as the first one.

It’s true that Grand Cayman residents should, for their own protection, become more ‘street wise’ than they have had to be in the past. It is unfortunately necessary for people to become more aware of their potential to be crime victims and the things they can do to limit that potential. Locking car doors after entering is probably a good idea since it only takes a second and provides some accident safety benefits as well.

However, residents need to remain calm, not overreact and be careful not to spread unnecessary fear in the community. Life in Cayman these days is stressful enough without having to worry about phantom threats.