The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is asking local property owners to give police details of their valuables before they are stolen as part of a new campaign to combat burglaries and break-ins.
A similar request sent to residents of the district of North Side in Grand Cayman last month sparked suspicions that the request may be a scam.
In response to that concern from North Side residents, police last month said they were merely urging people to note the serial number, make, model and description of the items and take photographs of them so victims of burglaries could pass that information quickly to police if the items were stolen.
Police on Monday said they were indeed encouraging people to give them information about their valuables before any crime is committed.
Chief Inspector Frank Owens said such information, which would be keep in a confidential database, would make it easier to track down owners of recovered stolen property.
Police said they would provide people who attend the campaign’s crime prevention events held throughout the Cayman Islands on Friday with property forms called NAB forms [Neighbours Against Burglary], which they will be asked to voluntarily complete and return to their local police station.
The information will be logged in a database which will be available to police investigators.
“From 1 January to 25 November this year, 408 burglaries were reported in the Cayman Islands, representing a decrease of 43 when compared to the same period in 2011,” said Chief Inspector Owens. “The number of homes and businesses being violated by burglars is still a serious concern for the RCIPS. That’s why it’s important that we continue to do all that we can to make sure people are provided with the right information about how to make their homes and business more secure.”
Police neighbourhood officers will be at locations throughout the Cayman Islands on Friday, 14 December, to meet the public and discuss crime prevention matters, including encouraging people to voluntarily lodge details of their valuables and electronics with the police service.
Police said officers would also encourage retailers to maintain a database of the property they sell, again including serial numbers. In addition, they will be asked to include serial numbers on the receipts of the goods they sell. Officers will be visiting business premises throughout all three islands in the next few days to request that staff sign-up to the scheme.
He added: “This is about us all working together to reduce the opportunities available to would-be burglars. If we can collectively take some simple crime prevention steps to make our premises less vulnerable we will reduce the opportunities available to those burglars. If a break-in does occur, then the database of property will help cut off the options available for burglars to sell on their stolen goods. That, in turn, means that the odds of them being caught and hauled before the courts greatly increase.”
The request to residents in North Side last month asked them to e-mail the information about their property to police, but in the new campaign, police are requesting that people return the NAB forms containing the relevant information to police stations in person.
“We want to stress that this information and the database is entirely confidential,” said Chief Inspector Owens.
Mr. Owens also issued a warning to people who may be tempted to buy items privately.
“If you are offered items for sale privately, the onus is on you to satisfy yourself that the sale is legitimate,” he said. “If the item is being offered at a price that just seems too good to be true, or the seller can’t provide proof of where he or she purchased it, then it may be stolen property. If you decide to take the risk and buy it then you too could end up facing charges in court and ultimately spend time in jail.”
Police will be at the following locations between 11.30am and 2pm, Friday, 14 December: Foster’s Airport Supermarket; Kirk’s Supermarket, Eastern Avenue; Hurley’s Supermarket at Grand Harbour; Foster’s Supermarket, Countryside, Savannah; Foster’s Republix Plaza, West Bay; Foster’s Supermarket, East End; and Tibbett’s Supermarket, Cayman Brac.
Anyone who cannot make it to the event can contact their local police station for advice. NAB forms are also available on the RCIPS website and can be picked up from local police stations from Friday, 14 December.